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What it is 

Horace Fletcher 

A,B. C, Life Serie. 


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HORACE Fletcher's works 


Thirty-fourth thousand. 462 pp. 

A-B-C OF True Living. Fifty-third 

thousand. 310 pp. 

OR, Economic Nutrition. Eighteenth 

thousand. 344 pp. 

MINUS Fearthought. Fifteenth thousand. 

251 pp. 
THAT LAST WAIF; or, Social Quaran- 
tine. Sixth thousand. 270 pp. 

FLETCHERISM: What It Is; or, How 
I Became Young at Sixty. Fourth 
thousand. 240 pp. 

The Author 







Fellow American Association for the Advancement of Science 








SepCeniber," ig^j ^ > 

















ERITE 116 





MENUS 158 


ANISM 180 


INDEX 221 




The Author Frontispiece 

The Author Testing His Endurance by Means 
of the Kellogg Mercurial Dynamometer . . i6 

The Author Undergoing a Test at Yale When 
He Made a World's Record on the Irving 
Fisher Endurance Testing Machine ... 28 

The Author Feeling Himself to Be the Most 
Fortunate Person Alive 70 

Horace Fletcher in His Master of Arts Robes . 98 

The Author, on his Sixtieth Birthday, Perform- 
ing Feats of Agility and Strength which 
Would Be Remarkable Even in a Young 
Athlete 100 



Fletcherism has become a fact 
A dozen years ago it was laughed at 
as the "chew-chew" cult; to-day the 
most famous men of Science endorse it 
and teach its principles. Scientific 
leaders at the world's foremost Univer- 
sities — Cambridge, England ; Turin, 
Italy; Berne, Switzerland; La Sor- 
bonne, France; Berlin, Prussia; Brus- 
sels, Belgium; St. Petersburg, Russia; 
as well as Harvard, Yale and Johns 
Hopkins in America — have shown 
themselves in complete accord with Mr. 
Fletcher's teachings. 

The intention of the present volume 
is that it shall stand as a compact state- 
ment of the Gospel of Fletcherism, 
whereas his other volumes treat the 
subject more at length and are devoted 
to different phases of Mr. Fletcher's 
philosophy. The author here relates 

fletcherism: what it is 

briefly the story of his regeneration, of 
how he rescued himself from the pros- 
pect of an early grave, and brought 
himself to his present splendid physical 
and mental condition. He tells of the 
discovery of his principles, which have 
helped millions of people to live better, 
happier, and healthier lives. 

Mr. Fletcher writes with all his well- 
known literary charm and vivacity, 
which have won for his works such a 
wide-spread popular demand. 

It is safe to say that no intelligent 
reader will peruse this work without 
becoming convinced that Mr. Fletcher's 
principles as to eating and living are 
the sanest that have ever been pro- 
pounded; that Fletcherism demands no 
heroic sacrifices of the enjoyments that 
go to make life worth living, but, to the 
contrary, that the path to Dietetic 
Righteousness, which Mr. Fletcher 
would have us tread, must be the pleas- 
antest of all life's pleasant ways. 



'What is good for the richest man in the world, 
must he also good for the poorest, and all in be- 
tween." Daily Express, London, May isth, 1913. 

This quotation was apropos of an 
announcement in the Evening Mail, of 
New York, telling that the Twentieth 
Century Croesus and financial philoso- 
pher, John D. Rockefeller, had uttered 
a Confession of his Faith in the funda- 
mental principles of Dietetic Righteous- 
ness and General Efficiency as follows: 

'*Don't gobble your food. Fletcher- 
ize, or chew very slowly while you eat. 
Talk on pleasant topics. Don't be in a 
hurry. Take time to masticate and 
cultivate a cheerful appetite while you 
eat. So will the demon indigestion be 
encompassed round about and his 
slaughter complete." 

At the time this compendium of phys- 

fletcherism: what it is 

iological and psychological wisdom 
concerning the source of health, com- 
fort, and happiness came to my notice 
J was engaged in furnishing my pub- 
lishers with a "compact statement of 
the Gospel of Fletcherism," as they call 
it, and hence the able assistance of Mr. 
Rockefeller was welcomed most cor- 
dially. Here it was in a nutshell, crys- 
tallized, compact, refined, monopolized 
as to brevity of description, masterly, 
and practically leaving little more to be 

The Grand Old Man of Democracy 
in England, William Ewart Gladstone, 
had had his say on the same subject 
some years before, and will be known to 
the future of physiological fitness more 
permanently on account of his glorifi- 
cation of Head Digestion of food than 
for his Liberal Statesmanship. 

In like manner, Mr. Rockefeller will 
deserve more gratitude from posterity 
for having prescribed the secret of high- 
est mental and physical efficiency in 


thirty-three words, than for the multi- 
ple millions he is dedicating to Science 
and Sociological Betterment. 

It will be interesting, however, to 
seekers after supermanish health and 
strength to know how the author took 
the "straight tip" of Mr. Gladstone, and 
"worked it for all it was worth" until 
Mr. Rockefeller referred to the process 
of common-sense involved as "Fletch- 
erizing." « 

I assure you it is an interesting story. 
It has taken nearly fifteen years to bring 
the development to the point where Mr. 
Rockefeller, who is carefulness personi- 
fied when it comes to committing him- 
self for publication, is willing to express 
his opinion on the subject. It has cost 
the author unremitting, completely-ab- 
sorbing, and prayerful concentration of 
attention, and nearly twenty thousand 
pounds sterling ($100,000), spent in fos- 
tering investigations and securing pub- 
licity of the results of the inquiries, with 
some of the best people in Science, Medi- 

fletcherism: what it is 

cine, and Business helping him with 
generous assistance, to accompHsh this 
triumph of natural sanity. 

In addition to other co-operation, and 
the most effective, perhaps, it is appro- 
priate to say that there is scarcely a 
periodical published in all the world, 
either technical, news-bearing, or other- 
wise, on the staff of which there has not 
been some member who has not received 
some personal benefit from the sugges- 
tions carried by the economic system 
now embodied in the latest dictionaries 
of many nations as "Fletcherism." 

The first rule of "Fletcherism" is to 
feel gratitude and to express apprecia- 
tion for and of all the blessings which 
Nature, intelligence, civilization, and 
imagination bring to mankind ; and this 
utterance will be endorsed, I am sure, 
by the millions of persons who have 
found economy, health, and general hap- 
piness through attention to the require- 
ments of dietetic righteousness. It will 
be especially approved by those who, like 


Mr. Rockefeller, gained new leases of 
life after having burned the candle of 
prudence at both ends and in the middle, 
to the point of nearly going out, in the 
struggle for money. 

Yet the secret of preserving natural 
efficiency is even more valuable than 
cure or repair of damages due to care- 
lessness and over-strain. In this re- 
spect the simple rules of Fletcherizing, 
embodying the requirements of Nature 
in co-operative nutrition, are made 
effective by formulating exercises 
whereby habit-of-conf ormity is formed, 
and takes command of the situation so 
efficiently, that no more thought need 
be given to the matter than is necessary 
in regard to breathing, quenching thirst, 
or observing "the rule of the road'' in 
avoiding collisions in crowded public 

Mr. Rockefeller's thirty-three words 
not only comprise the practical gist of 
Fletcherism, but also state the most im- 
portant fact, that by these means the 



real dietetic devil, the devil of devils, is 
kept at a safe distance. 

The mechanical act of mastication is 
easy to manage ; but this is not all there 
IS to head digestion. Bad habits of in- 
attention and indifference have to be 
conquered before good habits of deliber- 
ation and appreciation are formed. 
These requirements of healthy nutrition 
have been studied extensively and ana- 
lyzed thoroughly, to the end that we 
know that they may be acquired with 
ease if sought with serious interest and 

I began the preface by quoting the 
statement that "What is good for the 
richest man in the world must be also 
good for the poorest, and all in be- 
tween." I will close by asserting that 

"Doing the right thing in securing right 
nutrition is easier than not if you only 
know how." 






My Turning Point — 'How I had Ignored My Re- 
sponsibility — What Happens during Mastication — 
The Four Principles of Fletcherism 

Over twenty years ago, at the age of 
forty years, my hair was white; I 
weighed two hundred and seventeen 
pounds (about fifty pounds more than I 
should for my height of five feet six 
inches) ; every six months or so I had a 
bad attack of "influenza"; I was har- 
rowed by indigestion; I was afflicted 
with "that tired feeling." I was an old 
man at forty, on the way to a rapid de- 

It was at about this time that I applied 



for a life-insurance policy, and was 
"turned down" by the examiners as a 
''poor risk." This was the final straw. 
I was not afraid to die; I had long ago 
learned to look upon death with equa- 
nimity. At the same time I had a keen 
desire to live, and then and there made 
a determination that I would find out 
what was the matter, and, if I could do 
so, save myself from my threatened de- 

I realised that the first thing to do 
was, if possible, to close up my business 
arrangements so that I could devote my- 
self to the study of how to keep on the 
face of the earth for a few more years. 
This I found it possible to do, and I re- 
tired from active money-making. 

The desire of my life was to live in 
Japan, where I had resided for several 
years, and to which country I was pas- 
sionately devoted. My tastes were in 
the direction of the fine arts. Japan had 
been for years my Mecca — my house- 
hold goods were already there, waiting 



until I should take up my permanent 
residence; and it required no small 
amount of will-power to turn away from 
the cherished hope of a lifetime, to con- 
tinue travelling over the world, and 
concentrate upon finding a way to keep 

I turned my back on Japan, and be- 
gan my quest for health. For a time, I 
tried some of the most famous "cures" 
in the world. Here and there were mo- 
ments of hope, but in the end I was met 
with disappointment. 


It was partly accidental and partly 
otherwise that I finally found a clue to 
the solution of my health disabilities. 
A faint suggestion of possibilities of ar- 
rest of decline had dawned upon me in 
the city of Galveston, Texas, some years 
before, and had been strengthened by a 
visit to an Epicurean philosopher who 
had a snipe estate among the marsh- 
lands of Southern Louisiana and a 


fletcherism: what it is 

truffle preserve near Pau, in France. 
He was a disciple of Gladstone, and 
faithfully followed the rules relative to 
thorough chewing of food which the 
Grand Old Man of England had formu- 
lated for the guidance of his children. 
My friend in Louisiana attributed his 
robustness of health as much to this pro- 
tection against overeating as to the ex- 
ercise incident to his favourite sports. 
But these impressions had not been 
strong enough to have a lasting effect. 

One day, however, I was called to Chi- 
cago to attend to some unfinished busi- 
ness affairs. They were difficult of 
settlement, and I was compelled to 
''mark time" in the Western city with 
nothing especially to do. It was at this 
time, in 1898, that I began to think seri- 
ously of eating and its effect upon 
health. I read a great many books, only 
to find that no two authors agreed ; and 
I argued from this fact that no one had 
found the truth, or else there would be 
some consensus of agreement. So I 



stopped reading, and determined to con- 
sult Mother Nature herself for direc- 


I began by trying to find out why 
Nature required us to eat, and how and 
when. The key to my search was a firm 
belief in the good intentions of Nature 
in the interest of our health and happi- 
ness, and a belief also that anything less 
than good health and high efficiency was 
due to transgressions against certain 
good and beneficent laws. Hence, it was 
merely a question of search to find out 
the nature of the transgression. 

The fault was one of nutrition, evi- 

I argued that if Nature had given us 
personal responsibility it was not hidden 
away in the dark folds and coils of the 
alimentary canal where we could not 
control it. The fault or faults must be 
committed before the food was swal- 
lowed. I felt instinctively that here 


fletcherism: what it is 

was the key to the whole situation. 
The point, then, was to study the cavity 
of the mouth ; and the first thought was : 
"What happens there?" and "What is 
present there?'' The answer was: 
Taste, Smell (closely akin to taste and 
hardly to be distinguished from it). 
Feeling, Saliva, Mastication, Appetite, 
Tongue, Teeth, etc. 

I first took up the careful study of 
Taste, necessitating keeping food in the 
mouth as long as possible, to learn its 
course and development; and, as I tried 
it myself, wonders of new and pleasant 
sensations were revealed. New delights 
of taste were discovered. Appetite 
assumed new leanings. Then came 
the vital discovery, which is this: 
I found that each of us has what I call 
a food-filter : a discriminating muscular 
gate located at the back of the mouth 
where the throat is shut off from the 
mouth during the process of mastica- 
tion. Just where the tongue drops over 
backward toward its so-called roots 


there are usually five (sometimes seven, 
we are told) little teat-like projections 
placed in the shape of a horseshoe, each 
of them having a trough around it, and 
in these troughs, or depressions, termi- 
nate a great number of taste-buds, or 
ends of gustatory nerves. Just at this 
point the roof of the mouth, or the "hard 
palate,'' ends; and the "soft palate," 
with the uvula at the end of it, drops 
down behind the heavy part of the 

During the natural act of chewing the 
lips are closed, and there is also a com- 
plete closure at the back part of the 
mouth by the pressing of the tongue 
against the roof of the mouth. During 
mastication, then, the mouth is an air- 
tight pouch. 

After which brief description, please 
note, the next time you take food, 


Hold the face down, so that the 
tongue hangs perpendicularly in the 


fletcherism: what it is 

mouth. This is for two reasons: one, 
because it will show how food, when 
properly mixed with saliva, will be lifted 
up in the hollow part in the middle of 
the tongue, against the direct force of 
gravity, and will collect at the place 
where the mouth is shut off at the back, 
the food-gate. 

It is a real gate ; and while the food is 
being masticated, so that it may be 
mixed with saliva and chemically trans- 
formed from its crude condition into the 
chemical form that makes it possible of 
digestion and absorption, this gate will 
remain tightly shut, and the throat will 
be entirely cut off from the mouth. 

But as the food becomes creamy, so to 
speak, through being mixed with saliva, 
or emulsified, or alkalised, or neutral- 
ised, or dextrinised, or modified in what- 
ever form Nature requires, the creamy 
substance will be drawn up the central 
conduit of the tongue until it reaches 
the food-gate. 

If it is found by the taste-buds there 


located around the "circumvalate pap- 
illae" (the teat-like projections on the 
tongue which I mentioned above) to be 
properly prepared for acceptance and 
further digestion, the food-gate will 
open, and the food thus ready for ac- 
ceptance into the body will be sucked 
back and swallowed unconsciously — 
that is, without conscious effort. 

I now started to experiment on my- 
self. I chewed my food carefully until 
I extracted all taste from it there was 
in it, and until it slipped unconsciously 
down my throat. When the appetite 
ceased, and I was thereby told that I 
had had enough, I stopped; and I had 
no desire to eat any more until a real 
appetite commanded me again. Then 
I again chewed carefully — eating al- 
ways whatever the appetite craved. 


I have now found out five things ; all 
that there is to my discovery relative to 
optimum nutrition; and to the funda- 

• [9] 

fletcherism: what it is 

mental requisite of what is called Fletch- 

First: Wait for a true, earned appe- 

Second: Select from the food avail- 
able that which appeals most to appe- 
tite, and in the order called for by 

Third: Get all the good taste there 
is in food out of it in the mouth, and 
swallow only when it practically "swal- 
lows itself.'' 

Fourth: Enjoy the good taste for all 
it is worth, and do not allow any de- 
pressing or diverting thought to intrude 
upon the ceremony. 

Fifth: Wait ; take and enjoy as much 
as possible what appetite approves; 
Nature will do the rest. 

For five months I went on patiently 
observing, and I found out positively 
in that time that I had worked out my 
own salvation. I had lost upwards of 
sixty pounds of fat: I was feeling bet- 
ter in all ways than I had for twenty 



years. My head was clear, my body 
felt springy, I enjoyed walking, I had 
not had a single cold for five months, 
*'that tired feeling" was gone! But 
my skin had not yet shrunk back to fit 
my reduced proportions, and when I 
told friends whom I met that I felt well 
and a new man, their retort was that I 
certainly "did not look it !" * 

The more I tried to convince others, 
the more fully I realised from talking 
to friends how futile and well-nigh hope- 
less was the attempt to get credence and 
sympathy for my beliefs, scientifically 
well founded as I felt they were. For 
years it proved so; and I faced the fact 
that to pursue the campaign for recog- 
nition meant spending much money, 
putting aside opportunities to make 
profit in other and more agreeable di- 
rections, and no end of ridicule. Some- 

* Note : — Some of these same friends, fifteen 
years later, when I was sixty-four years of age, as 
positively declared: "You never looked so well: 
"Fletcherizing has certainly done well for Fletcher!" 


fletcherism: what it is 

times, during the daytime, when I was 
"sizing up" the situation in my mind, 
treating it with calm business judg- 
ment, it seemed nothing less than in- 
sane to waste any more time or money 
in trying to prove my contentions. 

Fully three years passed before I re- 
ceived encouragement from any source 
of recognised authority. I went first 
to Professor Atwater,* who received 
me most politely, but when I told him 
my story he threw cold water on my 
enthusiasm. In our correspondence 
afterwards he was most cordial but in 
no way encouraging. 

The frost became more and more re- 
pellent and benumbing. 

Still I persisted. At last I got hold 
of my first convert: a medical man, ill 
and discouraged; a member of a family 
long distinguished in the medical pro- 

* Professor W. A. Atwater, of Connecticut, U.S.A., 
was, in his time, a respected authority in the field 
of human nutrition, and, as such, was selected by 
the editors of the EncyclopcBdia Britannica to write 
the chapters on Nutrition for the Encyclopcedia. 


fession. He was Doctor Van Someren, 
of Venice, Italy, where I had made my 
home and where I Hved for some years. 
J. induced him to organise an experi- 
ment with me. We enHsted a squad of 
men and induced them to take food ac- 
cording to my ideas. We also were 
fortunate enough to secure the co-oper- 
ation of Professor Leonardi, of Venice. 
In less than three weeks the sick phy- 
sician found himself relieved of his 
acute ailments, and it would have taken 
several teams of horses to hold him 
back from preaching his discovery.* 
A little later, we transferred the field of 
experiment to the Austrian Tyrol, and 
tested our endurance qualities, only to 
find a capacity for work that was not 
before considered possible. Then Doc- 
tor Van Someren wrote his paper for 
the British Medical Association, which 
excited the interest of Professor Sir 

* Dr. Van Someren's testimony is given as an Ap- 
pendix to this volume; taken from The A.B. — Z. of 
Our Own Nutrition, 


fletcherism: what it is 

Michael Foster, of the University of 
Cambridge, England, and the first wave 
of scientific attention was set in mo- 




First Critical Examination at Cambridge University, 
England — My Endurance Test at Yale University 
in America 

One result of this powerful interest 
was a test of our theories made at Cam- 
bridge University, England, organised 
by Sir Michael Foster, who was then 
Professor of Physiology at the Univer- 
sity, and conducted by Professor Fran- 
cis Gowland Hopkins. The test was 
successful, proving our most optimistic 
claims, and the report of it was pub- 

The scientific world now began to 
turn its attention to my discoveries. 
Doctor Henry Pickering Bowditch, of 
Harvard Medical School, the dean of 
American physiologists, put the full 


fletcherism: what it is 

weight of his respected influence into 
the work to secure for America the 
honour of completing the investigation ; 
but it was not until the experiments at 
Yale University, in New Haven, that 
the first wide publicity was accorded. 
The story of this and subsequent experi- 
ments and their results is this: Pro- 
fessor Russell H. Chittenden was at the 
time President of the American Physio- 
logical Association, Director of the 
Sheffield Scientific School of Yale Uni- 
versity, and the recognised leading 
physiological chemist of America. He 
invited me to the annual meeting of the 
Physiological Association at Washing- 
ton, where I described the results in 
economy and efficiency, and especially 
in getting rid of fatigue of brain and 
muscle, obtained up to that time. But 
evidently to little purpose, as Professor 
Chittenden revealed to me at the close 
of the meeting. He said, in effect: 

"Fletcher, all the men you have met 
at our meeting like you immensely, per- 

The Author Testing his Endurance by means of the Kellogg 

Mercurial Dynamometer. Dr. Anderson, Director of the Yale 

Gymnasium, in the background. 


sonally; but no one takes much stock in 
your claims, even with the endorsement 
of the Cambridge men; the test there 
was insufficient to be conclusive. If, 
however, you will come to New Haven 
and let us put you through an exami- 
nation, our report will be accepted here. 
You will be either justified or disillu- 
sioned; and — I want to be frank with 
you — I think you will be disillusioned." 


by Dr. Chittenden showed a daily aver- 
age of 44.9 grams of proteid, 38.0 
grams of fat, and 253 grams of carbo- 
hydrates, with a total average calory 
value of 1,606 (compare this with the 
Voit Diet Standard, page 109), and 
careful and thorough tests made at 
the Yale Gymnasium proved that, in 
spite of this relatively low ration, I was 
in prime physical condition. 

Previously, as before stated, in the 
autumn of 1901, Dr. Van Someren had 
accompanied me to Cambridge for the 


fletcherism: what it is 

purpose of having our claims closely in- 
vestigated, with the assistance of physi- 
ological experts. The Cambridge and 
the Venice findings were fully confirmed 
at New Haven, and striking physical 
evidence was added by Doctor William 
Gilbert Anderson's examinations of 
me in the Yale Gymnasium. This lat- 
ter test, described on page 24, was more 
practically important as an eye-opener 
to both doctors and laymen than were 
the laboratory reports. I personally 
showed endurance and strength in spe- 
cial tests superior to the foremost 
among the College athletes. This was 
without training and with comparatively 
small muscle; the superiority of the 
muscle lying in the quality and not in 
the amount of it. 

Professor Chittenden then became in- 
tensely interested in the matter, as did 
also Professor Mendel; and the former 
suggested organising an experiment on 
a sufficiently large scale to prove uni- 
versality of application or the reverse. 



He volunteered his services and the use 
of his laboratory facilities. 

At this time, too, I became acquainted 
with General Leonard Wood * and Sur- 
geon-General O'Reilly, of the United 
States Army. I found both open to my 
evidence; and, in the case of General 
Wood, I learned that it was confirmed 
by his own experience while chas- 
ing Indians in the Western wilds. 
Through them President Roosevelt and 
Secretary Root became interested, and 
carte blanche was given General 
O'Reilly to use the War Department fa- 
cilities, including the soldiers of the 
Hospital Corps, for assistance in the 
proposed experiment, t 

One of the revelations of our experi- 
ments worthy of mention here was that 

* Now Chief of Staff. 

tThe full report of this famous experiment may 
be found in Professor Chittenden's book Physiolo- 
gical Economy in Nutrition; but such small mention 
of indebtedness to Fletcherism was made, that Pro- 
fessor Irving Fisher, in the interest of practical 


fletcherism: what it is 

occasional long abstinence from food, 
say two or three weeks, with water 
freely available, is comparatively harm- 
less, if "Fletcherizing" is carefully 
practised when food is again given to 
the body. Nature prescribes accurately 
what is to be eaten (often the most un- 
expected sort of food) ; and if the food 
selected by appetite is carefully masti- 
cated, sipped, or whatever other treat- 
ment is necessary to get the good taste 
out of it, and the mental state at the 
same time is clear of fear-thought or 
worry of any kind, the just amount that 
the body can use at the moment is pre- 
scribed by appetite, and the restoration 
to normal weight is accomplished with 

Political Economy, organised a supplemental experi- 
ment, more normal than the first, to test the economic 
effects of Fletcherism, pure and simple. 

A brief account of this investigation is given on 
page 98. 

Professor Chittenden made amends, later on, by- 
composing a physiological prose poem on the bene- 
fits and delights resulting from careful chewing and 
tasting of nutriment, which I quote in full in Chap- 
ter VII. 



epicurean delight, well worth a spell of 


The tests of endurance, which were 
conducted by Professor Irving Fisher, 
of Yale, now President of the Commit- 
tee of One Hundred on National Health 
of the American Association for the Ad- 
vancement of Science, and with the co- 
operation of the famous athletic coach, 
Alonzo B. Stagg, formerly of Yale, but 
now of the University of Chicago — on 
College athletes, students of sedentary 
habits, and on members of the staff of 
the Battle Creek Sanatorium — are of 
prodigious importance in their relation 
to the possibilities of human endurance 
through simple Fletcherizing. 

The reports include a test in what is 
termed "deep-knee bending," or squat- 
ting on the heels and then lifting the 
body to full height as many times as 
possible. John H. Granger, of the Bat- 
tle Creek Sanatorium staff, did this feat 


fletcherism: what it is 

5,002 times consecutively in two hours 
and nineteen minutes and could have 
continued. He then ran down a flight 
of steps to the swimming-pool, plunged 
in and had a swim, slept sweetly and 
soundly for the usual time, and showed 
no signs of soreness or other disability 

Doctor Wagner gave his strenuous 
contribution to our knowledge of possi- 
bilities of endurance by holding his arms 
out horizontally for 200 minutes with- 
out rest — three hours and twenty min- 
utes. At the end of that time he showed 
no signs of fatigue, and stopped only 
because of the weariness shown by those 
who were watching and counting the 
minutes. These statements seem like 
exaggerations, but they are not. 

Both of these tests can be tried by 
any one in the privacy of his or her own 

Doctor Anderson, Director of the 
Yale Gymnasium, taking advantage of 
the cue offered by the Yale experiments, 



which he superintended, practised 
Fletcherizing in all its branches. At 
the end of six years he put the muscles 
thus purified to the test, with the result 
that he added fifteen pounds of pure 
muscle to a frame that never carried 
more than 135 pounds before in the half 
century of its existence, and demon- 
strated that the same progressive recu- 
peration that I have enjoyed is open and 
available to others who have passed 
middle life. 

Mr. Stapleton, one of Professor Chit- 
tenden's volunteers, grasped the same 
valuable cue while serving as one of 
the heavy-weight test-subjects in the 
Yale experiments. He reduced his 
waist measurement to thirty inches and 
a half, increased his chest measurement 
to forty-four inches; and has refined 
his physique until his ribs show clearly 
through his flesh, while his muscles 
mount tall and strong where muscle is 
needed in the economy of efficiency. 
In the meantime, without training other 


fletcherism: what it is 

than that connected with his teaching, 
he increased the total of his strength 
and endurance more than one hundred 
per cent.; and reduced his amount of 
food by nearly, if not quite, half — as 
have also Doctor Anderson and myself. 


These are merely typical cases of dis- 
tinguished and measured improvement. 

How the movement went on from 
step to step others have told, and I need 
not follow it further here. 

Two years after I began my experi- 
ments my strength and endurance had 
increased beyond my wildest expec- 
tation. On my fiftieth birthday I rode 
nearly two hundred miles on my bicycle 
over French roads, and came home 
feeling fine. Was I stiff the next day? 
Not at all, and I rode fifty miles the 
next morning before breakfast in order 
to test the effect of my severe stunt.* 

* Detailed account of this test is given in The 
New Glutton or Epicure, New York: Frederick A. 
Stokes Company. 



When I was fifty-eight years of age, 
at the Yale University Gymnasium, un- 
der the observation of Dr. Anderson. 
I Hfted three hundred pounds dead 
weight three hundred and fifty times 
with the muscles of my right leg below 
the knee. The record of the best athlete 
then was one hundred and seventy-five 
lifts, so I doubled the world's record of 
that style of tests of endurance. 

The story of this test at Yale, when 
I doubled the ''record'' about which so 
much has been written, is this: Pro- 
fessor Irving Fisher, of Yale, had de- 
vised a new form of endurance-testing 
machine intended to be used upon the 
muscles most commonly in use by all 
persons. Obviously these are the mus- 
cles used in walking. Quite a large 
number of tests had been measured by 
the Fisher machine, but it was still be- 
ing studied with a view to possible sim- 

I was asked to try it and to suggest 
any changes that might improve it. I 


fletcherism: what it is 

did so, and handled the weight with 
such seeming ease that Dr. Anderson 
asked me whether I would not make a 
thorough test of my endurance. This 
I was glad to do. 

The Professor Irving Fisher En- 
durance Testing Machine is weighted 
to 75 per cent, of the lifting capacity of 
the subject, . ascertained by means of 
the Kellogg Mercurial Dynamometer. 
The lifting is timed to the beats of a 

When I began, Dr. Anderson cau- 
tioned me against attempting too much. 
I asked him what he considered ''too 
much," and he replied : "For a man of 
your age, not in training, I should not 
recommend trying more than fifty 
lifts." So I began the test, lifting the 
weight to the beat of the metronome at 
the rate of about one in two seconds^ 
and had soon reached the fifty mark. 
"Be careful," repeated Dr. Anderson, 
"you may not feel that you are over- 



doing now, but afterwards you may re- 
gret it." 

But I felt no strain and went on. 

When seventy-five had been ex- 
ceeded, Dr. Anderson called Dr. Born 
from his desk to take charge of the 
counting and watching to see that the 
lifts were fully completed, and ran out 
into the gymnasium to call the masters 
of boxing, wrestling, fencing, etc., to 
witness the test. When they had gath- 
ered about the machine, Dr. Anderson 
said to them, "It looks as if we were 
going to see a record-breaking." I 
then asked, "What are the records?" 
Dr. Anderson replied, "One hundred 
and seventy-five lifts is the record ; only 
two men have exceeded one hundred; 
the lowest was thirty-three, and the 
average so far is eighty-four." 

In the meantime I had reached one 
hundred and fifty lifts, and the interest 
was centered on the question as to 
whether I should reach the high record, 
one hundred and seventy-five. 


fletcherism: what it is 

When one hundred and seventy-five 
had been reached, Dr. Anderson 
stepped forward to catch me in case the 
leg in use in the test should not be able 
to support me when I stopped and at- 
tempted to stand up. But I did not 
stop lifting the three-hundred-pound 
weight. I kept right on, and as I pro- 
gressed to two hundred, two hundred 
and fifty, three hundred, and finally to 
double the record, three hundred and 
fifty lifts, the interest increased pro- 

After adding a few to the three hun- 
dred and fifty I stopped, not because I 
was suffering from fatigue, but be- 
cause the pounding of the iron collar on 
the muscles above my knee had made 
the place so pummelled very sore, as if 
hit a great number of times with a 
heavy sledge-hammer, I had doubled 
the record, and that seemed sufficient 
for a starter in the competition. 

As I stood up. Dr. Anderson reached 


The Author undergoing a Test at Yale when he made a 
World's Record on the Irving Fisher Endurance Testing 



Up his arms to support me. But I 
needed no support. The leg that had 
been in use feh a trifle lighter, but in 
no sense weak or tired. 

Then I was examined for heart-ac- 
tion, steadiness of nerve, muscle, etc., 
and was found to be all right, with no 
evidence of strain. A glass brimming 
full of water was placed first in one 
hand and then in the other, and was 
held out at arm's length without spill- 
ing any of the water. 

Next morning I was examined for 
evidence of soreness, but none was 
present. There was the normal elas- 
ticity and tone of muscle. 

Later in that same year, at the Inter- 
national Young Men's Christian Asso- 
ciation Training School at Springfield, 
Massachusetts, I lifted seven hundred 
and seventy pounds with the muscles of 
the back and legs — a feat that weight- 
lifting athletes find hard to perform. 
And I did these stunts eating two meals 


fletcherism: what it is 

a day, one at noon and the other at six 
o'clock, at an average cost of eleven 
cents a day. 

Still another examination at the Uni- 
versity of Pennsylvania resulted in my 
breaking the College record of lifting 
power with the back muscles. I do not 
cite these instances as feats of extra- 
ordinary prowess, but just to show the 
difference in my condition then and 
twenty years before. All this I have 
done simply by keeping my body free 
of excess of food and the poisons that 
come from the putrefaction of the food 
that the organism does not want and 
cannot take care of. 

As to myself, I am now past sixty- 
four. I weigh one hundred and 
seventy pounds, which is a good weight 
for my height. During the many years 
of experiment I have ranged between 
two hundred and seventeen and one 
hundred and thirty pounds, but have 
"settled down" to my present quite con- 
venient figure. I feel perfectly well; I 



can do as much work as can a man of 
forty — more than can the average man 
of forty, I believe. I rarely have a 
cold, and although I am always careless 
in this regard, my work is never de- 
layed. I do not know what it is to have 
*'that tired feeling," except as ex- 
pressed by sleepiness. When I get into 
bed I scarce ever remember my head 
striking the pillow, and after four and 
one-half hours I awake from a dream- 
less slumber with a happy waking 
thought in process of formation. 

I usually find it agreeable to court 
supplemental naps, to be followed by 
more pleasant waking thoughts: but 
these are pure luxury. I can do with 
five hours sleep if need be. 




Let Nature Choose the Meals — How Many Meals a 
Day ? — Housewives — Fletcherism — The Financial 
Economy of Fletcherism — Business People and 
Fletcherism — The True Epicure 

What do I eatf 

When do I eat? 

How much do I eatf 

My answer to all these questions is 
very simple. I eat anything that my 
appetite calls for; I eat it only when it 
does call for it; and I eat until my ap- 
petite is satisfied and cries "Enough!" 

With my New England food prefer- 
ences, my range of selection circulates 
among a very simple and inexpensive 
variety, namely, potatoes, corn-bread, 
beans, occasionally eggs, milk, cream, 
toast-and-butter, etc. ; and combinations 
of these, such as hashed-browned pota- 



toes, potatoes in cream, potatoes au 
gratin, baked potatoes, potato pats, fish- 
balls — mainly composed of potato; oc- 
casionally tomato stewed with plenty of 
powdered sugar; oyster stew with the 
flavour of celery; escalloped oysters, 
etc. The taste for fruits is always suit- 
able to the season, and is intermittent, 
strong leanings towards some partic- 
ular fruit persisting for a time and then 
waning to give place to some other pref- 

But with all my fifteen or twenty 
years of unremitting study of the sub- 
ject, I cannot now tell what my body is 
going to want to-morrow. But Na- 
ture knows, and she alone knows. 


Once in Venice a group of experi- 
menters, of which I was one, subsisted 
on milk alone. During seventeen days 
nothing but milk, always from the same 
cow, and fresh from the milking, 
passed my lips in the way of food or 


fletcherism: what it is 

drink. I sipped the milk, and tasted 
it for all the taste there was in it, and I 
learned to be so fond of it that it was 
with some difficulty that I went back to 
a varied diet when the experiment 
called for a change. Good, fresh milk 
is an exception to Nature's dislike for 
monotony in food. Milk is the one 
perfectly-balanced food material; and 
while it may not be always the best food 
for grown persons, it is the most ac- 
ceptable as a monotonous diet, and al- 
ways is good, sufficient and safe nutri- 
ment, if sipped, tasted, and naturally 

I have forgotten just what the exact 
quantity was that I consumed daily dur- 
ing those seventeen days — I believe it 
was about two quarts. I get away as 
far as possible from quantitative 
amounts, which may influence other 
persons. The appetite is the only true 
guide to bodily need; and if milk is 
tasted and swallowed only by involun- 
tary compulsion as required by right 



feeding, the appetite will gauge the 
bodily need exactly, and cut off short 
when enough for the moment has been 

So I say to all who ask me these ques- 
tions as applied to themselves: I cannot 
advise you appropriately what to eat, 
when to eat, nor how much to eat; 
neither can anybody else. Trust to 
Nature absolutely, and accept her guid- 

If she calls for pie, eat pie. If she 
calls for it at midnight eat it then, but 
eat it right. Understand the food 
filter at the back of the mouth as I have 
described it in a previous article, and 
use it in connection with the pie. If it 
is used properly, and all the taste is ex- 
tracted from the pie, and it is swallowed 
only in response to the natural opening 
of the gate, and if the ingredients of 
the pie that are not swallowed naturally 
are removed from the mouth, nothing 
will happen to disturb profound sleep. 

Few persons will crave mince pie or 


fletcherism: what it is 

Welsh rarebit late at night. The 
worker on a morning paper may do so, 
and often does. He has earned his 
appetite, and sometimes it is so robust 
as to call for mince pie or Welsh rare- 
bit; but if these are eaten properly they 
will then be utilised by the body, eagerly 
and easily. 

I dwell purposely upon this extrava- 
gance of eating. It is to accentuate 
the fact that we want to get as far away 
as possible, when cultivating vital econ- 
omies, from the idea of extraneous ad- 
vice in the matter of food. 

The ordinary person will probably 
find his appetite leaning towards the 
simplest of foods, and away from fre- 
quency of indulgence. If the break- 
fast is postponed until a real, earned 
appetite has been secured, the mid-day 
or later breakfast (remember always 
that breakfast means the first meal of 
the day, no matter when taken) will be 
so enjoyable a meal, and the appetite 
will be so entirely satisfied that there 



will be no more demand for food until 
evening, and possibly not even then. 


I am often asked if it is true that I 
eat only two meals a day; that I never 
eat breakfast, and why I have dropped 
that meal. 

I have two meals a day more habit- 
ually than any other number, but not 
with any prescribed regularity, for the 
reason that my activities are most ir- 
regular at times, and my appetite ac- 
commodates itself to my needs. 

When I am doing work under the 
most favourable of conditions, one 
meal a day is the rhythm best appreci- 
ated by my body. But the question of 
"How many meals a day?" is tanta- 
mount to the inquiry as to the amount 
of sleep needed : it is a matter of satis- 
faction of the natural requirements. 
The harder one works, the faster one 
runs, etc., the more air he needs. The 
same applies to the need for food ac- 


fletcherism: what it is 

cording to the amount of heat elimi- 
nated, and the repair material consumed. 
The really hardest work that anybody 
does is done within the body. Mus- 
cular effort in normal conditions is not 
so waste-provoking and exacting as 
getting rid of excess of food and the 
counteraction of worry or anger. 
Likewise, idleness begets uneasiness, 
uneasiness begets desire for something 
(nobody knows just what), and grop- 
ing around for '*Don't know what" 
causes the temptation to eat and drink 
something which the body does not 
need; and then the really hard work of 
the body begins in the attempt of Na- 
ture to get rid of the excess. Excess of 
water can be thrown off in perspiration 
with comparative ease, but with excess 
of food it is different. The kidneys, 
bacteria and fuel furnaces of the body 
are all over-worked to get rid of it. 

When I am so busy that I have only 
time to replenish the real exhausted 
need of the body, say half an hour at 



most, I find one meal a day all that my 
appetite demands of me. This is taken 
after I have done my day's work of, 
say, eight hours of writing, or twelve 
or thirteen hours of bicycle riding or 
mountain climbing, and then I do not 
have appetite for more until the next 
day, after the work is done. 

When I mention two meals as being 
the more habitual, it is because I am not 
fully, constructively active all the time 
now, although I am usually "snowed 
under" with things that I might do to 
advantage; and hence I conform to the 
social custom and sit down to table 
some time in the evening to be social. 

The reason I have dropped the habit- 
hunger morning meal is because I find 
that it is unnatural in my case. My ex- 
perience showed me that omission of 
the early morning meal led to desire for 
a lighter but more satisfactory mid-day 
meal, and took away the craving for the 
evening supper. I first came to this 
realisation during excessive hot 


fletcherism: what it is 

weather and monotonously trying en- 
vironment. The only time I could 
write comfortably was before sun-up in 
the morning. Absorbed in my writing 
I did not realise the growing heat of 
the day until I actually began to rain 
perspiration, by which time it was 
nearly noon. Then came the mid-day 
meal of breakfast selection with salad 
and fruit preponderating. The best of 
feelings followed, the waist-line 
shrank, and one meal satisfied. 

In order to try the urgency of any 
habit appetite — the early morning meal, 
for instance — take a drink of water in- 
stead, and note if that does not suffice 
as well as food to allay the craving for 
"something." A cup of hot water, 
with sugar and milk to suit the taste, 
is amply sufficient. Water will not sat- 
isfy a real, earned appetite; but it often 
will effectually allay a purely habit- 
hunger such as that for early break- 




A great many women ask: "But how 
is it possible to follow such a haphazard 
way of eating in a home without upset- 
ting the whole routine of the household, 
disturbing the work of the servants? 
You can't just have your family eating 
whenever they like." 

My answer is this: The possible 
disturbance to domestic regularity and 
convenience, because of the difficulty of 
supplying different members of the 
family only when appetite in each case 
is "just good and ready," is purely im- 
aginary. Persons of regular occupa- 
tions will accommodate themselves to 
the ordinary rhythm of meal schedule 
easily and naturally, with the difference 
that they may occasionally skip a meal 
or two when the ordinary activity has 
been lessened. 

The general experience has been, 
that concentration on one particular 


fletcherism: what it is 

meal, either at noon or in the evening, 
will suit everybody, and other feedings 
will be "snoopings" from the larder, or 
taken at a restaurant in those instances 
where one's occupation is remote from 
home. The "Fletcherite" at business 
frequently follows the method of having 
nuts or plain biscuits in his desk in case 
he feels like taking them ; and the busi- 
ness woman would do well to profit by 
his example. 

The adoption of Fletcheristic sim- 
plicity leads to the solving of the eternal 
household problem, and under its in- 
fluence it is possible for woman's work 
to be done sooner, giving physical relief 
and more time for healthful recreation. 

Diminution of the demand for meat- 
foods has much to do with both the ease 
of house-work, and the modification of 
cost. But this is not the most impor- 
tant saving. The saving of liability to 
intestinal toxication (poisoning) is the 
great economy of the method. 




It has been stated by writers who 
have correctly reported resuhs that 
more than two hundred thousand fam- 
ilies in America live according to 
Fletcherism and save as much as a dol- 
lar a day on their living expenses. 
This has led many to ask: "How are 
one's living expenses reduced by your 
principles ?'' 

The estimate, arrived at a few years 
ago, that some two hundred thousand 
families in America were saving an 
average of a dollar a day through 
Fletcherizing, was made, I believe, by 
Doctor Kellog, of Battle Creek, Mich- 
igan. Through the thousands of pa- 
tients who pass under his observation, 
and through a comprehensive touch 
with the sale of different kinds of food 
throughout the country, Doctor Kellog 
has his finger on the pulse of the nation 


fletcherism: what it is 

in relation to its dietetic circulation. 
Fletcherism first affected families of 
sumptuous tastes, and the economy of 
it easily effected a saving of an average 
of a dollar a day, largely in the diminu- 
tion of meat requirements and complex 

The spread of the movement has 
now begun to encompass families of 
lesser luxury of habits; and here it is 
found that an average saving of ten 
cents a day for each person is easily 
accomplished. In the Christian En- 
deavour Society alone, the leaders of 
the movement, as the result of their 
own practical experience, hoped to 
effect a saving of hundreds of thou- 
sands of dollars a day through the 
spread of this economic nutritive teach- 
ing. This was likewise the aspiration 
of the Roman Catholic benevolent 
organisations. A circular letter 
signed by the Reverend Father Hig- 
gins, of Germantown, Pennsylvania, 
which was distributed widely, declared 



that, in addition to the food economy 
sought to be obtained, a condition 
which makes for poverty — that is, in- 
temperance — was overcome by Fletch- 

Father Higgins declared that ''No 
Fletcherite can he intemperate in the 
use of alcoholic stimulants,'* and he was 
right in his assertion. 


What would be the best way for 
business people to adopt Fletcherism? 
is often asked. The case is frequently 
cited to me of a young man or woman 
who isn't hungry for breakfast at seven 
o'clock, does not eat at that time be- 
cause the appetite doesn't demand it; 
and then gets ravenously hungry at 
eleven o'clock. It may be impossible to 
get any food until one-thirty — by 
which time the feeling comes that one 
has "waited too long," and a headache 
and no desire for food are the results. 
Or, the case of working-girls who live 


fletcherism: what it is 

in boarding-houses, eat no breakfast, 
and at noon cannot afford the whole- 
some and hearty food Nature would 
then crave. Later, at dinner, they 
have to eat what is put before them, 
whether they want it or not, or else go 
without. Will a hearty luncheon, 
rightly eaten, interfere with a good 
afternoon's work? I am reminded 
also that leisure, money, and easily-ac- 
cessible cafes are not always available 
for business women. 

My answer to such questions is: — 
Any change of habit is apt to excite a 
protest on behalf of the body, especially 
when the body is not properly nour- 
ished, and is in a state of more or less 
disease. When the habit-hunger comes 
on a few sips of water will quiet the dis- 
comfort for the time being and, very 
likely, until it is convenient to take food 
comfortably and with the calm and rel- 
ish necessary to good digestion. Head- 
ache, faintness, "all-goneness" and like 
discomforts, are symptoms, not of hun- 



ger, but of the reverse — that is, fer- 
mentation of undigested excess of food 
which the body cannot use. 

A person, thus troubled, should 
brave discomfort for a week, and even 
go without food entirely for a few 
meals, in order to give the body a 
chance to "clean house'': then the real 
sensation of hunger will be expressed 
by "watering of the mouth" and a keen 
desire for some simple food such as 
bread and butter, or dry bread alone. 
But this healthy appetite will "keep" 
and accumlate until it is convenient to 
take food. 


I am, personally, a hearty man in full 
activity, both mental and physical. I 
can work six hours and then satisfy the 
keenest of appetites on a meal of wheat 
griddle-cakes with maple syrup and a 
glass or two of milk. A young work- 
ing woman should be able to do the 
same. If I eat such a meal with 


fletcherism: what it is 

"gusto," deliberation (so as to enjoy 
the maximum of taste), taking not 
more than fifteen minutes over it, I can 
then go to work, or play, or to moun- 
tain cHmbing, or to riding a bicycle, 
and keep it up until I am sleepy, with 
no sense of repletion or discomfort. 

"Money, leisure and easily-acces- 
sible cafes" are the menace of right 
nutrition, unless one is proof against 
temptation to kill time in this danger- 
ous manner. 

Steady work to earn a true appetite, 
small means to spend on food, the neces- 
sity of going to seek it, with the ap- 
preciation which comes from rarity, are 
the very best safeguards to right nutri- 

I am an epicure. Yet I have never 
seen a boarding-house, nor a resturant, 
nor a camp where I could not find some- 
thing to satisfy a true (earned) ap- 
petite. During more than a year in 
the Far East — Ceylon, Java, the Philip- 
pines, China, Burma India, Kashmir — 



and at many steamer and railway lunch 
tables, I always found something good 
to satisfy a keen appetite. If you are 
all right inside, and will only conquer 
your habit-hungers, I believe you can 
live sumptuously, anywhere, on less 
than two shillings a day. I can, and 
often do ; and do it, too, at one hundred 
and seventy pounds weight and 
'^awfully busy" all the time. It may be 
difficult, and perhaps painful, at first, 
to get the best of bad habit-cravings, 
but it is worth while. A week should 
accomplish the reformation. 

A number of men ask me : "Do you 
honestly believe that in your theories 
lies the secret of long life?" I do, and 
I may give one example of a "lived 
model" of longevity as the result of 
Fletcherism in all its ramifications of 
temperance of eating, careful masti- 
cation, radiant optimism, practical altru- 
ism, superabundant activity, etc. The 
Honourable Albert Gallatin Dow, of 
Randolph, New York, passed away in 


fletcherism: what it is 

May, 1908, lacking less than three 
months of a hundred years of age. Up 
to the last moment of his century of life 
there was no encroachment of senility, 
and he fell, ripe fruit, into the lap of 
Mother Nature, without a blemish of 
decay. Shortly before he passed away, 
Mr. Dow invited me to see him, and 
told me that he had received a shock 
of warning early in life as I had done 
late in life, and had made the same dis- 
covery that had reformed me. He be- 
lieved that he owed his health and vig- 
our to following the simple require- 
ments of Nature, as I was teaching ; but 
he had his career to make at the time, 
and had not had the leisure and means 
to preach dietetic righteousness as I 
was doing. He wished me Godspeed 
on my mission. All inquiry in all direc- 
tions, wherever longevity has been ac- 
complished, reveals the same simplicity 
of habits of living, which are the nat- 
ural points of Fletcherizing. 




Never Eat until Hungry — Mouth-Treatment of Solid 
and Liquid Food — When to Stop Eating — Instruc- 
tions to the Medical Department of the U. S. Army 

To make my ideas a little clearer, I 
will elaborate them a little more. Re- 
member that the rules are exceedingly 
simple. That, to my mind, is the worst 
obstruction to the general adoption of 
my system: it is so simple that many 
find it difficult to comprehend. But 
take these rules and you have the idea. 


Don't take any food until you are 
''good and hungry." 

Some people will reply: "I am al- 
ways hungry." Others will aver that 
they "never know what it is to be hun- 
gry." We may assume that both re- 


fletcherism: what it is 

plies are incorrect, because hunger 
must be intermittent, and must some- 
times be present, or life would be in- 
tolerable through lack of satisfaction 
and something to satisfy. 

The question, ''What is hunger?'' is 
a natural and legitimate one, for the 
reason that there are true appetites and 
false cravings. True hunger for food 
is indicated by "watering of the mouth" 
— not that watering of the mouth, or 
profuse flow of saliva, through arti- 
ficial excitement by some pungent stimu- 
lant, such as sweets, or acids or spiced 
things; but that which is excited on 
thought of some of the simplest of 
foods, such as bread and butter, or dry 
bread alone. 

"All-goneness" in the region of the 
stomach, "faintness," or any of the dis- 
comforts that are felt below the guil- 
lotine Hne, are not signs of true hunger, 
but symptoms of indigestion, or some 
other form of disease. True hunger is 



never a discomfort unless a growing 
desire may be classed as a discomfort. 
Accumulating appetite (true hunger) 
is like the multiplication of uncut and 
uncashed coupons on a railway bond 
or on a Government bond. The feel- 
ing of possession is a joy of itself; and 
the ability to collect the proceeds when 
needed and at leisure is comfortable 
rather than uncomfortable. Under cir- 
cumstances of intelligent nutrition, if 
we pass one mealtime we wait patiently 
for the next, with the knowledge that 
we are accumulating appetite coupons. 


Have you yet learned what true hun- 
ger is? 

Don't go on unless you have done so. 
Take a little more time; skip a meal or 
two, and give Nature a chance to show 
you what real appetite (true watering 
of the mouth) is. Having learned to 
recognise healthy hunger and appetite, 


fletcherism: what it is 

and to know what it is to have both of 
them begging you for satisfaction, pro- 
ceed with the second rule. 

From the food available at the time 
take that first which appeals most 
strongly to the appetite. It may be a 
sip of soup, or a bite of bread and butter, 
or a nibble of cheese, or, perhaps a lump 
of sugar. It may be a piece of meat, 
though I doubt that a true appetite will 
call for such at the beginning of a meal. 
Never mind what it may be, give it a 
trial. If it be something that should be 
masticated in order to give the saliva a 
chance to mix with it and chemically 
transform it, chew it ''for all that it is 

'Tor all that it is worth" means for 
the extraction and enjoyment of all the 
good taste there is in it. 

If the food selected by the appetite 
happens to be soup, or milk, or some 
mushy substance, get all the good taste 
out of it, doing all you can to accom- 
pHsh this; for to get the taste out 



of food is an assurance of digesting 
it, and the pleasure it gives in the proc- 
ess of Nature's way of getting you to 
do the right thing in helping her to 
nourish yourself properly. Sip, taste, 
bite, press with the tongue against the 
roof of the mouth, the food in the 
mouth, not because of any suggestion 
of mine, but in response to the natural 
instinct to move it about and get out of 
it all the taste there is in it. 


The moment appetite begins to slack 
up a bit, the moment saliva does not 
flow so freely as at first, the moment 
there is any degree of satisfaction of 
the appetite, stop eating! 

You will have a return of appetite; 
you will have another chance to eat; 
appetite is beginning to have "that tired 
feeling" herself; be kind to her as she 
has been kind to you. Give her a rest ! 
Give her a rest! Give yourself a rest! 
Rest is the antidote of ''that tired feel- 


fletcherism: what it is 

ing"! Therefore rest the appetite be- 
fore it gets tired. Stop eating before 
you are overloaded. 

Now, having learned how to do the 
right thing in eating so as never more 
to have "that tired feeling," don't be- 
gin to overdo. Don't bend backward 
too far. Don't ever overdo a good 

Be temperate; be deliberate. Be 
thoughtful ; be forethoughtful ; be fore- 
thoughtful without being fearthought- 
ful. Don't overdo chewing, for then 
you take away much of the pleasure; 
smother the psychic enjoyment of eat- 
ing, and raise the very mischief 

Just be natural, and know that being 
natural is being deliberate in enjoying 
the thing you are doing, for that is 
Nature's way. 

To the above simple rules I will ap- 
pend a few recommendations which oc- 
curred to me and which I wrote while 



in a respiration calorimeter, an experi- 
ence which I will relate in a subsequent 
chapter. This list of recommendations 
has since been included in the Instruc- 
tions to the Medical Department of the 
United States Army, under the head- 

Method of attaining Economic Assimi- 
lation of Nutriment and Immunity 
from Disease, Muscular Sore- 
ness and Fatigue. 

( 1 ) Feed only when a distinct appe- 
tite has been earned. 

(2) Masticate all solid food until it 
is completely liquefied and excites in an 
irresistible manner the swallowing re- 
flex or swallowing impulse. 

(3) Attention to the act and appreci- 
ation of the taste are necessary, mean- 
time, to excite the flow of gastric juice 
into the stomach to meet the food — as 
demonstrated by Pawlow. 

(4) Strict attention to these two 
particulars will fulfil the requirements 


fletcherism: what it is 

of Nature relative to the preparation of 
the food for digestion and assimilation ; 
and this being faithfully done, the auto- 
matic processes of digestion and as- 
similation will proceed most profitably, 
and will result in discarding very little 
digestion-ash (faeces) to encumber the 
intestines, or to compel excessive draft 
upon the body energy for excretion. 

(5) The assurance of healthy econ- 
omy is observed in the small amount of 
excreta and its peculiar inoffensive 
character, showing escape from putrid 
bacterial decomposition such as brings 
indol and skatol offensively into evi- 

(6) When digestion and assimila- 
tion has been normally economic, the 
digestion-ash (faeces) may be formed 
into little balls ranging in size from a 
pea to a so-called Queen Olive, accord- 
ing to the food taken, and should be 
quite dry, having only the odour of 
moist clay or of a hot biscuit. This in- 
offensive character remains indefinitely 



until the ash completely dries, or disin- 
tegrates like rotten stone or wood. 

(7) The weight of the digestive-ash 
may range (moist) from 10 grams to 
not more than 40-50 grams a day, ac- 
cording to the food; the latter estimate 
being based on a vegetarian diet, and 
may not call for excretion for several 
days; smallness indicating best con- 
dition. Foods differ so materially that 
the amount and character of the ex- 
creta cannot be accurately specified. 
Some foods and conditions demand two 
evacuations daily. Thorough and 
faithful Fletcherizing settles the ques- 
tion satisfactorily. 

(8) Fruits may hasten peristalsis*; 
but not if they are treated in the mouth 
as sapid liquids rather than as solids, 
and are insalivated, sipped, tasted, into 
absorption in the same way wine-tast- 
ers test and take wine, and tea-tasters 
test tea. The latter spit out the tea 

* Forwarding muscular movement which advances 
food along the whole extent of the alimentary canal. 


fletcherism: what it is 

after tasting, as, otherwise, it vitiates 
their taste, and ruins them for their dis- 
criminating profession. 

(9) Milk, soups, wines, beer, and all 
sapid liquids or semi-solids should be 
treated in this manner for the best as- 
similation and digestion as well as for 
the best gustatory results. 

(10) This would seem to entail a 
great deal of care and bother, and lead 
to a waste of time. 

(11) Such, however, is not the case. 
To give attention in the beginning does 
require strict attention and persistent 
care to overcome life-long habits of 
nervous haste; but if the attack is ear- 
nest, habits of careful mouth treatment 
and appetite discrimination soon be- 
come fixed, and cause deliberation in 
taking food unconsciously to the feeder. 

(12) Food of a proteid value of 5-7 
grams of nitrogen and 1,500-2,500 
calories of fuel value,'*' paying strict at- 

* The organic materials of human diet are usually 
classified into three divisions: — 



tention to the appetite for selection and 
carefully treated in the mouth, has been 
found to be the quantity best suited to 
economy and efficiency of both mind 
and body in sedentary pursuits and 
ordinary business activity; and, also, 
such habit of economy has given prac- 
tical immunity from the common dis- 
eases for a period extending over more 

(i) The Proteids, or Albuminates — the character- 
ising element occurring being nitrogen. The nitrog- 
enous foods are: flesh (without the fat), eggs, milk, 
cheese, legumes (peas, beans, lentils, etc.). 

(2) The Fats, or Hydro-carbons. All animal and 
vegetable fats and oil. Emulsions of mineral oils 
have been shown to pass through the system un- 
changed, and therefore cannot be regarded as food. 

(3) The Carbo-hydrates (sugars and starches) : 
bread, potatoes, and grain generally. 

Protein is the tissue builder; heat and energy are 
derived largely from the non-nitrogenous foods. 

A Calorie (large) is the unit of heat required to 
raise one kilogram of water to 1° C. The full value 
of a food is ascertained by means of the calorimeter, 
or apparatus used to determine the specific heat of 
substances, or the amounts of heat evolved or ab- 
sorbed in various physical and chemical changes. 
Calorimeters take very diverse forms, varying from 
quite simple vessels to highly complex apparatus, 
according to the particular kind of determination to 
be carried out in them. 


fletcherism: what it is 

than fifteen years, whereas the same 
subject was formerly subject to period- 
ical illness. Similar economy and im- 
munity have shown themselves consist- 
ently in the cases of many test subjects 
covering periods of ten years, and 
applies equally to both sexes, all ages, 
and other idiosyncratic conditions. 

(13) The time necessary for satis- 
fying complete body needs and appetite 
daily, when the habit of attention, ap- 
preciation and deliberation have been 
installed, is less than half an hour, no 
matter how divided as to number of 
rations. This necessitates industry of 
mastication, to be sure, and will not 
admit of waste of much time between 

(14) Ten or fifteen minutes will 
completely satisfy a ravenous appetite 
if all conditions of ingestion and prep- 
aration are favourable. 

(15) Both quantitive and qualitive 
supply of saliva are important factors; 
but attention to these fundamental re- 



quirements of right eating soon regu- 
lates the supply of all of the digestive 
juices, and in connection with the care 
recommended above, ensures economy 
of nutrition and, probably, immunity 
from disease. 




Not Excessive Chewing' — Gladstone's Advice — Salival 
Action on Starch Foods 

Notwithstanding the fact that 
Fletcherizing stands for tasting as the 
important thing to accomplish before 
food is swallowed, and that biting, chew- 
ing, or masticating is merely a means to 
secure the end of thorough tasting, nine- 
tenths of all who know anything about 
the claims for Fletcherizing insist on 
thinking that it merely means "excessive 
mastication." The National Food Re- 
form Association of England, in a bulle- 
tin giving advice concerning the feed- 
ing of school children, intended to be 
posted in school-rooms and private din- 
ing rooms, speak of Fletcherizing in its 
ideal practice as "Excessive Mastica- 



This is just what Fletcherizing is not. 
The very essence of the method of per- 
forming the personal responsibihty is 
avoiding excess of anything, excessive 
or laboured chewing among the rest. 

There is little if any harm in keeping 
food in the mouth as long as possible, 
and I believe that it is impossible to have 
too much saliva mixed with it when it is 
swallowed, because when it is properly 
tasted and insalivated it is almost im- 
possible to hold it back from the food 
gate at the back of the mouth. There 
is always suction there ready to draw 
welcome nourishment in when it is 
ready, and readiness touches a button, 
electrically relieving the muscular 
springs that close the gate tightly dur- 
ing tasting, and, literally a "team of 
horses could not hold it." 

What the mystics of the stomach-dis- 
eases profession called bradefagy, or, 
in plain English, excessive chewing, can 
only be performed with painful tedious- 
ness. It makes work — hard work — of 


fletcherism: what it is 

the act, and that is just as much opposed 
to Fletcherizing as it is to common 
sense, horse sense, and all of the natural 

Now just for one moment please pay 
attention to one who is telling you some- 
thing Mother Nature wants you to know 
more than anything else in the whole 
category of intelligence. Fletcherizing 


or tedious chewing, or long chewing. 
The things that require to be chewed 
long are not good food, and by that 
sign you may find out their unprofit- 
ableness better than in any other way. 
Good taste from good food is not long 
lasting. When the mouth is "water- 
ing'' for the food in sight, or even in 
thought of it, the coupons of taste they 
carry with them are short, but represent 
large figures of satisfaction and nour- 



MR. Gladstone's advice 

Now listen to some figures regarding 
the number of bites or chews that some 
foods require under varying circum- 
stances. Mr. Gladstone's advice to his 
children which has become classic, viz. : 
"Chew your food thirty-two times at 
least, so as to give each of your thirty- 
two teeth a chance at it," was a general 
recommendation. Mr. Gladstone was 
observed once when he was a guest at 
"high table" at Trinity College, Cam- 
bridge, and the average number of his 
"bites" (masticatory movements) as far 
as they could be counted, was about sev- 
enty-five. That did not speak very well 
for Trinity fare, unless Mr. Gladstone 
happened to choose food that required 
that amount of chewing. 

Even if Mr. Gladstone did devote 
seventy-five masticatory movements to 
each morsel, as an average, such thor- 
oughness would not have involved an 


fletcherism: what it is 

unusual length of time for a hearty meal. 
If you will try the experiment when you 
are "good and hungry/' having a "work- 
ingman's appetite," and disposing of 
good bread and butter the while, which 
should have nearly, or quite, seventy 
bites to the ordinary mouthful, you will 
find that thirty mouthfuls will pretty 
nearly, or completely, satisfy your work- 
ing-man's appetite. Mixed foods take 
much less time, usually about half, and 
still the seventy-five-rhythm act will con- 
sume only about twenty minutes to per- 
form with physiologic thoroughness. 


Here are some statements easy to 
prove or disprove by anyone, with real 
compensation in the way of new revela- 
tions relative to the possibilities of gus- 
tatory enjoyment. 

Starchy foods, such as bread, pota- 
toes, etc., require from thirty to seventy 
masticatory movements to assist saliva 
to turn the starch into "grape sugar/' 


which is the form in which it can be used 
as nourishment.* 

You will at once think, no doubt, that 
a range of numbers extending from 
thirty to seventy is pretty wide. So it 
is ; but conditions regarding the qualities 
of not only breads, but potatoes, and also 
conditions relative to the strength or 
supply of saliva, differ greatly. When 
the appetite is keen, the mouth watering, 
as they are at the beginning of a meal, 

* Although I have been a close student of the sub- 
ject for more than fifteen years in the best physi- 
ological-chemical laboratories for long periods of 
time— and always emulating the man from Missouri 
in demanding of the wise ones in the science of the 
laboratories to "Show me!" — I maks the statements 
relative to what happens below the guillotine line in 
Mother Nature's exclusive territory of responsibility 
on the authority of the laboratory territory experts ; 
but only, mind you, when my personal observations 
and business logic approve the conclusion. There- 
fore, when I tell you that starch turned into dextrose, 
or "grape sugar," is assimilable as nourishment, and 
that starch which is not thus chemically transformed 
by saliva is not capable of becoming nourishment, I 
am not "speaking by the book," which Mother Na- 
ture has opened for me to read — unless biological- 
chemists can be considered to be extra-enlightened 
forms of nature. 


fletcherism: what it is 

bread or potatoes may be negotiated into 
nutriment ready for the stomach in 
much less time than later on. Appetite 
''peters," as miners say, gradually, and 
does not stop with a bang and shut off 
like an electric light when connection is 
broken. It checks up, slows down, and 
tapers off gradually, and that is where 
the canny intelligence of a faithful 
Fletcherizer stands himself in good use- 
fulness. When Appetite gently says: 
"Now, really, you are still rather good 
to my assistant Taste, and he would not 
object to a few bites more; but if you 
stop now and change off to something 
else which I have in mind, and for which 
I have a use in our organism, I will not 
object." In plain words: 'T have 
enough for the present; switch off on 

to " 

The difference between putting on fat 
in the case of the person who is disposed 
or permitted to put on more fat than is 
comfortable, and losing some of the sur- 
plus carried on the abdomen or else- 



where, is the discrimination exercised 
in regard to the final satisfaction of ap- 
petite. Those last two, three, or a few 
mouthf uls after Appetite has said gently 
"Enough,'' and before the same Appetite 
says, loudly, "Stop!" are the diiference 
between obesity and decency of form. 

I really believe, from the results of my 
experiences for the past fifteen years in 
getting tips from Mother Nature, and 
trying to induce mankind in general and 
my friends in particular to accept them 
as "straight'' from Mother Nature, that 
persons who have enough respect for 
themselves to be interested in physical 
culture must come to the rescue of the 
pseudo-scientists who are dulled by their 
own dope, and who are sufifering from 
the malaria which collects in the dark 
ruts they are following in the tortuous 
complications of the alimentary canal. 
The physical culturists must build mod- 
els of normality for the scientists to 

When giving information as to what 


fletcherism: what it is 

happens in the mouth, and as to what 
happens as a result of proper head diges- 
tion, I feel as if I am sitting on the upper 
lip of Mother Nature herself, and en- 
trusting her messages to the current of 
her own sweet breath for distribution 
among her human children. 




My Study of the Subject — The Mouth as a Digestive 
Organ — Dr. Cannon's Researches — Pawlow's 

In the latest comprehensive treatise 
on human nutrition, under the title of 
"Food and the Principles of Dietetics/' 
by Dr. Robert Hutchinson, of London, 
more than six hundred pages are de- 
voted to the subject. Of these, just fifty 
lines are given to "Mouth Digestion." 
In a footnote of sixty-four words Dr. 
Huchinson has stated the case of the 
importance of careful eating, v^ith ad- 
mission of a fact that v^ould mean eman- 
cipation from most of the human disabil- 
ities if it were repeated in nurseries and 
primary schools as religiously as are the 
ordinary rules of ''polite conduct,'' and 
held by Society to be the basis of re- 
spectability, which it really is. 

[73^ * 

fletcherism: what it is 

When I first took up the study of die- 
tetics in academic circles, nearly fifteen 
years ago, physiologists did not concede 
that there was any mouth digestion at 
all. Putting food in the mouth was for 
the purpose of mixing it with saliva so 
that it could be formed into a "bolus" for 
convenient swallowing. Now it is rec- 
ognised that there is some mouth diges- 
tion. In the meantime Pawlow * has 
demonstrated that the psychic influence 
has much to do with digestion. Can- 
non, also, has shown by the evidence of 
the Rontgen rays that mental states re- 
tard and even stop entirely the digestive 
processes that are going on in the stom- 
ach, and has asserted, as has also Paw- 
low, that the stomach digestive juices 
flow in response to the reports and stim- 
ulation of taste, pouring out into the 
cavity of the stomach juices appropriate 
for the digestion of the particular food 

* Dr. Prof. J. P. Pawlow, Director of the Depart- 
ment of Experimental Physiology in the Russian Im- 
perial Military School of Medicine, &c. 



being tasted, in advance of its arrival in 
the stomach. 

This evidence, confirming my own se- 
cured by concentrated and unremitting 
study of the effect of head digestion on 
health and recuperative reconstruction, 
is proof enough that there is an impor- 
tant department of nutrition that can be 
properly called head digestion. 


began with the tip from Mother Logic — 
that the full extent of the personal re- 
sponsibility in nutrition is located in the 
head before the food is swallowed. 
That is what led me to concentrate on 
the mouth as the field of our responsibil- 
ity which had been neglected by Science. 
Even the Dental Profession as a whole 
had not at that time "tumbled" to the 
fact that they were occupied profession- 
ally and constantly in a field of ''Pre- 
ventive Medicine'' as important as now 
they find it. 

Everybody had supposed that the di- 


fletcherism: what it is 

gestion of food was effected only in the 
stomach and small intestines. This may 
be true, in a narrow sense, but it can be 
arrested and completely stopped by the 
head. Furthermore, digestion can be as 
much assisted by favourable head influ- 
ence as it can be obstructed by unfavour- 
able head treatment. 

This being so, as everybody knows, 
or can easily learn, what follows as a 
logical sequence ? 

Here is a physiological eye-opener, as 
it dawns upon the business physiologist. 
The obvious inference is that if the head 
can make digestion easy or stop it alto- 
gether, the stomach being a subservient, 
mechanical, and chemical servant of the 
head in the matter, we may properly de- 
clare that the master-key of digestion is 
held by the head, and we may safely say 
that there is Head Digestion. 


The logical continuation of the search 
for the location of responsibility for 



good or poor digestion leads us to con- 
sider the question of "Division of 
Labour" as apportioned by the Laws of 
Normality. All the laboratory evidence 
I have seen confirms my own observa- 
tions of the past fifteen years that 
Nature assures good results if we are 
thoroughly faithful to our head re- 
sponsibility during the treatment of 
food up to the point of swallowing. 
From that time digestion has been ren- 
dered so easy by thorough mouth 
preparation that it may proceed 
smoothly even if the mental states 
are not pleasant. Here, too, we dis- 
cover that easy digestion reacts favour- 
ably on the mentality and exerts a calm- 
ing influence. 

Some observers declare that idiots di- 
gest their food quite easily. The less 
mental clarity they possess the better for 
their metabolism. This does not argue 
in favour of the absence of mental influ- 
ence, for the idiot is a sensualist, and in 
the relief from mental excitement finds 


fletcherism: what it is 

enjoyment of taste and the satisfaction 
of appetite as agreeable as do the ani- 
mals under similar favourable condi- 

Quite recently, when I was personally 
under observation by Dr. Professor 
Zuntz in Berlin, to test the ease of my di- 
gestion of food as compared with others 
who paid less attention to mouth treat- 
ment of it, the good professor instructed 
me to ''be as nearly like a little animal 
as possible, thinking nothing of any- 
thing." This isn't as easy for a ''live- 
wire thinking outfit" as for an idiot, or 
as for an ingenuous little animal having 
no thought for the morrow, but the busi- 
ness physiologist does not scorn to go 
anywhere for light on Nature's require- 
ments. One thing is sure, the person 
who has been faithful to his personal 
responsibility by starting the process of 
digestion as Nature demands can relax 
and enjoy metabolic and mental calm in 
delightful harmony more easily than one 



who has gluttony on his conscience and 
the wages of sinning on his stomach. 
These wages look big to the swollen 
greed of cultivated gluttony, but they 
are as bad as they are big, and the best 
way to be convinced of this fundamen- 
tally important fact is to realise the po- 
tency of head digestion for well or ill, 
and give it a practical trial. 

The key to good digestion is in the 
head, and the sooner mankind comes to 
realise this important truth the quicker 
will come the millennium of nutrition 

DR. cannon's researches 

I have just been reading Professor 
Walter B. Cannon's book in the Arnold 
Medical Monograph Series, entitled 
"The Mechanical Factors of Digestion." 
I have learned many valuable lessons 
from the intestinal observations of Dr. 
Cannon, and have seen the shadows he 
describes on his fluorescent screen under 


fletcherism: what it is 

his practised guidance, and, with his 
generous permission, quoted him exten- 
sively in my book, The A. E, — Z. of Our 
Own Nutrition. 

It seems that we began our quest for 
light on the mechanics and mentaUty of 
digestion by objective observation about 
the same year, 1898. He took a hop, 
skip and jump over the three inches of 
the aHmentary canal that is our personal 
responsibility and, with the aid of bis- 
muth blackened food and a Rontgen-ray 
apparatus, began to study the move- 
ments incident to digestion by the shad- 
ows cast on the screen. For this pur- 
pose he principally used female cats, 
because they were more amenable than 
male cats to the torture of being tied flat 
to a cloth with the possible fear that they 
were condemned to death as well as to 
inactivity. Even the use of pink or blue 
ribbons as bands of bondage under the 
circumstances does not lure their cat- 
ladyships into the quietude demanded 
for normal movements of digestion, and 



male cats will not *'stand for it" at all. 

For ten years or more Professor Can- 
non and his assistants were devoted to 
these Dark Chamber X-ray observa- 
tions, and in the meantime wading 
through hundreds of volumes of Physio- 
logical Archives for reports of other in- 
testinal investigations. The fruit of 
this thoroughness of research is more 
than 400 references to reported data 
and conclusions extending back to the 
dawn of Physiology. To one who has 
followed the accounts of the "Biddings'' 
in the "Old Man Greenlaw's Liquor Sa- 
loon in Arkansas City," as given weekly 
in the New York Sunday Sun, these re- 
searches seem to be governed by the 
strict rules of "Draw Poker." Eventu- 
ally all of the cards (or evidence) go 
into the "discard," confirming Sir Mi- 
chael Foster's dictum, to the efifect that 
"the more we learn of Physiology the 
more we know how little we really 

I recommend everybody to get Dr. 


fletcherism: what it is 

Cannon's book and turn at once to page 
74, and read about the importance of 
mastication in securing easy digestion 
free from fermentation. Then turn to 
page 217 and read his conclusions rela- 
tive to the influence of the emotions on 
digestion. Put these two statements to- 
gether, and then judge for yourself if it 
is claiming too much to say that there 
is really Head Digestion, and that it is 
in the field of personal responsibility, in 
the mouth and in the brain, that good 
or bad digestion — right or mal-nutrition 
— are inaugurated. 

You will find the literary quality of 
Dr. Cannon's book so fascinating, no 
matter whether you know the meaning 
of the terms used or not, that you will 
enjoy it like a novel. It has the charm 
of the diction of Sir Michael Foster 
and Sherlock Holmes combined, with 
enough of the solving of the secrets of 
the alimentary canal to satisfy the most 
exacting imagination. 

If a taste for the inner mysteries has 



been acquired by the reading of Profes- 
sor Cannon's book, further desires in 
that direction may be satisfied by read- 
ing the physiological prose poem by Pro- 
fessor Chittenden, in praise of head 
digestion as the acme of sensual pleas- 
ure. It is a gem, and is quoted in Chap- 
ter VII following, in support of the 
contention of this chapter. This poem 
appears in the book The Nutrition of 
Man (as studied mainly in starving 
dogs), and one wonders why such a 
pearl of practical, every-day. Kinder- 
garten, domestic usefulness should be 
"thrown to the dogs/' so to speak. 



A Physiological Prose Poem 

It is difficult to imagine a more pleas- 
urable Epicurean felicity than that de- 
scribed by Professor Russell H. Chitten- 
den, of the Sheffield Scientific School, of 
Yale University, in America, as the re- 
sult of careful masticating and thorough 
tasting of the commonest of foods. 

Professor Henry Pickering Bowditch, 
of Harvard University Medical School, 
like Sir Michael Foster and all the most 
eminent physiologists, were quick to ap- 
preciate the revelations of the Cam- 
bridge investigation of Fletcherizing as 
indicating the discovery of the missing 
link in the chain of processes necessary 
for securing good digestion and healthy 
nutrition, but they looked on it as a ques- 



tion of profitable economy rather than 
material for poetic enthusiasm. 

It was given to Professor Chittenden 
to discover the rarest merit of decent 
eating ; the politeness of it, as well as the 
poetry; that element of respectability 
which will eventually recommend it to 
the socially-refined as one of the civilised 
fine arts ; that expression of appreciation 
which is due to Mother Nature for her 
many beneficences. 

By Russell H. Chittenden 

"With the mind in a state of pleasur- 
able anticipation, with freedom from 
care and worry, which are liable to act 
as deterrents to free secretion, and with 
the food in a form which appeals to the 
eye as well as to the olfactories, its thor- 
ough mastication calls forth and pro- 
longs vigorous salivary secretion, with 
which the food becomes intimately in- 
termingled. Salivary digestion is thus 
at once incited, and the starch very 


fletcherism: what it is 

quickly commences to undergo the char- 
acteristic change in soluble products. 
As mouthful follows mouthful, degluti- 
tion alternates with mastication, and the 
mixture passes into the stomach, where 
salivary digestion can continue for a 
limited time only, until the secretion of 
gastric juice eventually establishes in 
the stomach-contents a distinct acid re- 
action, when salivary digestion ceases 
through destruction of the starch-con- 
verting enzyme. Need we comment, in 
view of the natural brevity of this proc- 
ess, upon the desirability for purely 
physiological reasons of prolonging 
within reasonable limits the interval of 
time the food and saliva are commingled 
in the mouth cavity? It seems obvious, 
in view of the relatively large bulk of 
starch-containing foods consumed daily, 
that habits of thorough mastication 
should be fostered, with the purpose of 
increasing greatly the digestion of 
starch in the very gateway of the ali- 
mentary tract. It is true that in the 


small intestines there comes later an- 
other opportunity for the digestion of 
starch ; but it is unphysiological, as it is 
undesirable, for various reasons, not to 
take full advantage of the first oppor- 
tunity which Nature gives for the prep- 
aration of this important foodstuff for 
further utilisation. Further, thorough 
mastication, by a fine comminution of 
the food particles, is a material aid in the 
digestion which is to take place in the 
stomach and intestines. Under normal 
conditions, therefore, and with proper 
observance of physiological good sense, 
a large portion of the ingested starchy 
foods can be made ready for speedy ab- 
sorption and consequent utilisation 
through the agency of salivary diges- 

"Nowhere in the body do we find a 
more forcible illustration of economical 
method in physiological processes than 
in the mechanics of gastric secretion. 
Years ago it was thought that the flow 
of gastric juice was due mainly to me- 


fletcherism: what it is 

chanical stimulation of the gastric 
glands by contact of the food material 
with the lining membrane of the stom- 
ach. This, however, is not the case, as 
Pavlov has clearly shown, and it is now 
understood that the flow of gastric juice 
is started by impulses which have their 
origin in the mouth and nostrils ; the sen- 
sations of eating, the smell, sight and 
taste of food serving as physical stimuli, 
which call forth a secretion from the 
stomach glands, just as the same stimuli 
may induce an outpouring of saliva. 
These sensations, as Pavlov has ascer- 
tained, affect secretory centres in the 
brain, and impulses are thus started 
which travel downward to the stomach 
through the vagus nerves, and as a re- 
sult gastric juice begins to flow. This 
process, however, is supplemented by 
other forms of secretion, likewise reflex, 
which are incited by substances, ready 
formed in the food, and by substances — 
products of digestion — which are manu- 
factured from the food in the stomach. 


Soups, meat juice, and the extractives of 
meat, likewise dextrin and kindred prod- 
ucts, when present in the stomach, are 
especially active in provoking secretion. 
When the latter foods have been in the 
stomach for a time, however, and the 
proteid material has undergone partial 
digestion, then absorption of the prod- 
ucts so formed calls forth energetic se- 
cretion of gastric juice. It is thus seen 
that there are three ways — all reflex — 
by which gastric juice is caused to flow 
into the stomach as a prelude to gastric 
digestion. Further, it has been shown 
by Pavlov that there is a relationship 
between the volume and character of the 
gastric juice secreted and the amount 
and composition of the food ingested, 
thus suggesting a certain adjustment in 
the direction of physiological economy 
well worthy of note. A diet of bread, 
for example, leads to the secretion of a 
smaller volume of gastric juice than a 
corresponding weight of meat produces, 
but the juice secreted under the influence 


fletcherism: what it is 

of bread is richer in pepsin and acid, 
i.e., it has a greater digestive action than 
the juice produced by meat. The sug- 
gestion is that gastric juice assumes dif- 
ferent degrees of concentration, with 
different proportions of acid and pepsin, 
to meet the varying requirements of a 
changing dietary." 




The Effect of Prejudice — Professor Fisher*s 

While Professor Cannon was grop- 
ing about in Nature's alimentary pre- 
serves in comparative darkness, I con- 
centrated my attention upon the first 
three inches of the canal which comprise 
the field of our personal responsibility, 
and which has been neglected by most of 
the students of the subject. 

While the area considered was right 
out in front, and open to visual inspec- 
tion all the time, the opportunity to study 
its most important features having to do 
with nutrition was not continuous. Mr. 
Edison may rivet his attention on an 
electrical problem and stick to it for 
forty-eight hours on a stretch, but Taste 


fletcherism: what it is 

is only occasionally on exhibition for ob- 
servation and cannot be pressed into 
long service at any one time. For test 
of normal Taste only the time required 
for the most economic nutrition is avail- 
able. A real body-need with keen appe- 
tite is the first healthy excuse for calling 
on Taste to perform. Normal appetite, 
too, being satisfied with appetising 
foods, is of brief duration. One may 
linger over a meal as long as desired, 
enjoying the intimate memory of the 
gustatory gratification in leisurely proc- 
ess, but in case of a first-class labouring 
man's hunger and the exigency of a rail- 
way station dinner in the midst of a 
desert, industrious application of faith- 
ful Fletcherizing for fifteen minutes will 
usually supply the real needs of the mo- 
ment for eight hours at least. This es- 
timate involves a healthy condition of 
the nutrition department, including an 
abundance of powerful saliva for the 
hastening of the mouth treatment, but 



such a beatific facility can be secured in 
a very short time by the faithful and 
intelligent employment of all depart- 
ments of head digestion. 

A person who specialises on the mouth 
end of the alimentary canal has plenty 
of time to rest between inspections. He 
will naturally watch for any feeling of 
results that may happen while Mother 
Nature is doing her twenty-five feet of 
digestion and absorption, but if his part 
has been performed properly, there will 
be no news of the process until there is 
something to excrete from the material 
ingested. When this occurs, if a micro- 
scope is handy for minute inspection, it 
will be found that most of the excreta 
is composed of what I think of as the 
dandruff of the alimentary canal. It is 
composed of shapeless particles of skin 
which have been discarded by the mu- 
cous surface of the canal in the same 
manner that dead skin is being continu- 
ally detached from the head and all parts 


fletcherism: what it is 

of the external surface of the body. De- 
pending on the nature of the food, there 
may be small particles also of indigesti- 
ble cellulose from vegetable foods and 
the condensed solids of the digestive 
juices when they have been used and 
worn out. 


I have noticed that the early preju- 
dices in favour of or against foods are 
likely to prevail throughout life. I have 
observed this in trying to secure local 
appreciation for my own favourite New 
England dishes in foreign countries. 
Tinning, or canning, science has made it 
possible to serve Boston baked beans 
and brown bread or even an entire 
Thanksgiving Dinner in Japan or Bor- 
neo, but it is impossible to excite native 
appreciation for them commensurate 
with the cost and trouble of the trans- 
portation. In Scandinavia, where they 
file the appetite to the keenest of edges 
with the piquancy of the "Smoer Broed,'' 



or "Smoer Goes," * the American taste 
for very sweet things is not appreciated. 
Chocolates for that market are more bit- 
ter than sweet, and so it goes throughout 
the world where head digestion is im- 
portant in determining the prescription 
of foods. 

At one time, during a year and a half 
of travel in unusual countries where the 
French, English or American memi is 
not easily available, I never missed an 
opportunity to study the effect of head 
prejudice on digestion. If the fortunate 
opportunity occurs to sample the sump- 
tuous "ris taver^ of Java, there will be 
the best of chances to confirm my ob- 
servation in this regard. This dish is 
varied in sumptuousness, or variety, but 
the humblest offering of it consists of 
a large and deep soup plate piled high 
in the middle with snowy rice with each 
individual grain unbroken. This, to be- 
gin with, is a triumph of oriental culi- 

* Literally "Butter-goose"; a table set apart, with 
bread and butter and a variety of snacks. 


fletcherism: what it is 

nary art. Surrounding this rice moun- 
tain are dabs of every sort of a "relish'* 
any one ever imagined. You select 
these from tiers of plates borne in each 
hand by as many as a dozen servants, 
following each other in procession, and 
presenting opportunities of choice 
amounting to twenty or more, perhaps 
even thirty or more in extraordinary 
cases. Hence it is the privilege of the 
guest to take much or little of any, or 
all, of the condiments according to the 
state of his appetite or greed. All the 
colours and nearly the whole food king- 
dom are represented, and the temptation 
IS increased by the art of rearrangement. 
There is no way of judging what each 
sort of relish is : It may be fish, fowl, 
vegetable, tuber, side-meat, or a com- 
bination of nuts or fruits, as far as the 
intelligence of the uninitiated goes. 

There were several members of the 
party of foreigners of different degrees 
of prejudice against anything strange 



in appearance. To one, all of the comes- 
tibles were "utterly impossible/' and 
remained so to the end ; while to others 
curiosity got the better of suspicion, and 
finally the appetites looked forward to 
dinner-time with especial cordiality, for 
the rice-mountain relish-cordon and the 
complicated combination were digested 
with ease. 

The standard dish, however, of the 
Javan dinner is boiled potatoes and beef- 
steak swimming in a pint of good butter 
gravy, so that even the conscientious 
dietist with vegetarian preferences may 
revel in something that smacks of home 
and mother, with such an abundance of 
luscious fruits that nothing but gusta- 
tory delight happens as a usual thing. 
Still, it is the same in Java or Japan, in 
London, Paris, Berlin, Vienna, Rome or 
New York, the digestion of food is un- 
der the control of the head and therefore 
may be called head digestion. 


fletcherism: what it is 


The most important large experiment 
for the testing of head digestion under 
conditions of strict scientific control was 
that inaugurated and conducted by Pro- 
fessor Irving Fisher, of Yale Univer- 
sity, in America. 

Professor Fisher occupies the Chair 
of Political Economy at Yale, has made 
extensive researches into the factors 
that influence the economies or extrava- 
gances of living, and is President of the 
Committee of One Hundred of the 
American Association for the Advance- 
ment of Science on Health. 

Professor Fisher's interest in mv rev- 
elations and tests relative to the potency 
of head digestion came primarily from a 
personal test which worked wonders for 
him in establishing a foundation for 
good health. He was not satisfied with 
the later Chittenden experiments, be- 
cause they substituted academic pre- 
scription for natural selection in formu- 


Horace Fletcher in his Master of Arts Robes 


lating the rules of the inquiry. Like 
myself, in conducting the original re- 
searches, Professor Fisher realised that 
the practical value of my discoveries was 
that no one needed a biological chemist 
to order his meals for him or tell his 
appetite what his body needed in the way 
of food elements. 

The Fisher experiment worked with 
nine healthy undergraduates who were 
ambitious to take high scholastic hon- 
ours, and who had little time for ath- 
letics or any form of physical exercise, 
they being types of the average Univer- 
sity undergraduate. 

A generous table was supplied them 
with meat and every variety of food that 
usually composed college fare. The 
only instructions were that thorough 
mastication and especial attention to the 
enjoyment of the food as recommended 
by me in my books should be faithfully 
performed. This course was pursued 
for half a year, and for the rest of the 
year, in addition to the careful head 


fletcherism: what it is 

treatment and enjoyment, preference 
was to be given to foods known to be 
low in nitrogen content; but not to the 
extent of suppressing any distinct call 
of appetite for them. 

In the first half of the experiment 
the men held their own on about 40 per 
cent, less food, computed by cost, and 
increased their strength-endurance abil- 
ity by something more than 100 per 
cent., with the added felicity of feeling 
unusually fit all of the time, entirely es- 
caping the slack or sick spells they had 
been accustomed to, and improving 
greatly in their general studentability, 
that is : power of concentration, memory, 
mental comfort, profundity of sleep, etc. 

During the second half of the experi- 
ment still more improvement was se- 
cured owing to the readiness of the body 
to accommodate itself to the wish by 
favouring the economies. 

I have not a copy of the report at 
hand. It is included in the publications 
of Yale University about 1905. 

The Author, on his Sixtieth Birthday, performing Feats of 


ANP Strength which would be remarkable even in a Young 



While all of the abundance of con- 
firmatory evidence which has accumu- 
lated since 1898 is valuable and gratify- 
ing, the verdict of the unremitting ob- 
servation since then is that the problem 
of nutrition is always a personal one. 
After fifteen years of devotion to the 
study of the head-end question, with due 
attention to the tell-tale excreta and the 
product expressed in terms of energy 
and general comfort, I am unable to pre- 
dict what my body is going to want to- 
morrow in the way of nutrition supply. 
I can say with some confidence that if 
I go on doing as I have been accustomed 
to doing daily, and no shock of grief or 
surprise intervenes to upset all calcula- 
tions, I am likely to find nutritive satis- 
faction as expressed by appetite among 
the foods that are commonly agreeable 
to me. 

If I am compelled or impelled to do a 
great stunt of walking or other unusual 
exertion, or receive crushing news, all 
my present predictions may be useless. 


fletcherism: what it is 

The body itself, from the hair on the 
head to each finger or toe-nail will know 
what it wants and will have given to the 
caterer Appetite its requisition covering 
the need. In the meantime each brain 
cell and all of the bones have not been 
neglectful of their sustenance require- 
ments, nor have they been backward in 
letting Appetite know. 

It is fortunate that the common needs 
of digestion may be supplied from a lim- 
ited range of food varieties. Milk is 
all-sufficient always for general supply 
of the nutritive requisites. In the ple- 
beian potato, which has attained to royal 
rank as the result of the extensive ex- 
periments of Dr. Hindhede, of Den- 
mark, in co-operation with Madsen the 
Faithful, has been found full nourish- 
ment for ten months, at least, when sup- 
plemented by butter or margarine to 
furnish the fuel supply. Even in this 
surprising revelation no academic pre- 
scription was infallible. Potatoes differ 
in nutritive value as much as 50 per 


cent. Fresh-cooked and well-cooked 
ones alone fill the bill of sufficiency, and 
full head-work in assuring easy diges- 
tion was made the first rule of the test. 
For four months I served as a check 
test-subject and speak from experience. 
Nothing is ever accomplished except 
by a division of labour and on the just 
division of responsibility depends the 
success of eflFort. Nature has given to 
us the head-end of responsibility. 




The Protein Enthusiast — ^Doubting Thomases 

The only completely accurate pre- 
scriber of nutrition for living creatures 
is Mother Nature herself, and if she does 
not prescribe anything by the undoubted 
approval of appetite she /)r6>scribes it. 

One of the rules which have governed 
my quest for optimum human nutrition 
in the midst of the twentieth century 
food supply and other conditions, has 
always been to go to Nature for final 
advice in the matter. 

When I say ''Question Prescription 
and Proscription'' I mean that the most 
positive prescribers of food have some- 
thing in the food line or advice to sell, 
and they proscribe as positively anything 


that competes with their commercial 

My eyes were opened to this possible 
snare and delusion by a great doctor of 
medicine,* who is also one of the most 
ardent economists I have ever met — not 
a miser in any sense, but a religiously 
philosophical economist. He is almost 
as righteously indignant against any 
who use the trust which is placed in them 
by clients or patients for the selling of 
high-priced foods as he is at the makers, 
advertisers, retailers and prescribers of 
alcohol as a beverage. In his just opin- 
ion it is as wicked, or almost as wicked, 
to advise unprofitable extravagance of 
any sort as it is to prescribe poison. 

To this discriminating philosopher 
food is the basis of health-wealth, and 
sacred to its divine usefulness. 

The great harm fhat was done to the 
world by the academic prescription of 
excessive protein rations t was that it 

*Dr. M. Hindhede: Copenhagen, Denmark. 
fVoit, Atwater, etc 


fletcherism: what it is 

started a vicious circle of extravagances 
which led as surely to untimely death as 
murder. The perpetrators of this per- 
nicious prescription were innocent of in- 
tention to do harm; in fact, they were 
full of the most generous of motives in 
issuing their poisonous advice, and one 
of the most prominent, at least, paid the 
penalty by dying miserably of his own 
fatal ignorance. 

I may also say that it is "presump- 
tion/' advisably, for almost all prescrip- 
tions of food which do not have their 
basis on the natural body calls are pre- 
sumptuous. Nature knows! If given 
a chance to show her knowledge Nature 
prescribes rightly and delivers her mes- 
sage in the form of appetite and the 
other instincts. She will do this in the 
midst of the most complicated of arti- 
ficial food mixtures, as I have reason to 
know from personal experience, con- 
firmed by many others over and over 

Therefore I may say more surely 


than ever, that whatever nature pro- 
vides and PERMITS as nourishment i 



that Honesty approves is the Optimum 
Economic Nutrition ; and my great pre- 
ceptor, Dr. Hindhede, the ideally hon- 
est scientist and doctor, ventures to 
prescribe only the plainest of foods that 
are delicious to a true, keen appetite, 
and cost the least through being in sea- 
son and so common and easy to grow 
as to be cheapest. 

This good and superlatively honest 
doctor does not Proscribe; anything that 
Nature permits as food and he does not 
even Proscribe the transportation of 
grapes from Madeira to the North 
Cape of Norway for the enjoyment of 
those who can afford to pay for them. 

Would the Froscribers of flesh food 
have denied Amundsen and his com- 
panions the flesh of their faithful dogs 
as a last resort in securing nourish- 

fletcherism: what it is 

ment for the completion of their 
journey to the South Pole? It was 
their truly last resort in gaining the 
victory over the Ice God; and would to 
God that brave Captain Scott and his 
band of faithful ones had had such a 
last but saving resort to help them ac- 
complish the eleven miles between them 
and rescue! But then, the world 
would have missed a model of altruism 
that is worth a million lives, and one of 
which million everybody would like to 
be, if their lives are worth the living. 


While writing this chapter I have 
been forwarded material for indig- 
nation and a text for condemnation in 
the form of a book so full of food pre- 
scription that it is positively poisonous, 
as read with the intelligence of my own 
and current knowledge of the subject, 
that it ought to be pilloried as a "Hor- 
rible Example" of presumptuous pre- 
scription and proscription. It is an 


advertisement pure and simple, but so 
prejudicial to the natural facts in the 
case that it again raises the question of 
the advisability of a Supreme Court of 
the Physiology of Nutrition, to try 
such nutrition perverters for high trea- 
son to Mother Nature. 

I will not name the book or the 
author, to further the advertisement. 
I once stopped a controversy with the 
doctor-father of the author by offering 
to wager him one hundred pounds that 
I could beat him out on a ten mile go- 
as-you-please tramp, which he had 
mentioned as one of his stunts to prove 
his contentions. Our ages were nearly 
equal, and the difference of training 
consisted of his prescribing for himself 
over IOC grams of proteid daily (less 
by 20 per cent, than the vicious Voit * 

* Carl Voit, of Munich, prescribed as Standard 
daily diet for a man doing moderate work: 118 
grams of Protein, 56 grs. Fat, 500 grs. Carbohydrates, 
with a total fuel value of 3,055 large calories ; increas- 
ing the same to 145 grains Protein, 160 grs. Fat, 450 
grs. Carbohydrates, with a total fuel value of 3,370 


fletcherism: what it is 

or Koenig Standards, and less by 30 
per cent, than the Standard that killed 
poor Professor Atwater), while I had 
subsisted for years on less than half his 
prescription. He warned me that I 
was courting death, but that he was 
providing for himself longevity by the 
mile. He got mad with me, and nearly 
fumed at the mouth, because I assumed 
to insist that only Mother Nature was 
a competent prescriber, intimating that 
he was not. I could not out-talk him, 
and so I sent him a challenge. He 
made the excuse that he was leaving 
for the Continent for a rest, but would 
talk further with me when he returned. 
His reputed forty-thousand-pound 
office practice of prescribing his favour- 
large calories. This is the celebrated Voit Diet 
Standard. Professor Atwater, of Connecticut, went 
further, prescribing as Daily Diet Standard no less 
than 125 grams of Proteins, with sufficient fat and 
carbohydrates to equal a total fuel value of 3,500 
large calories for a man doing a moderate amount of 
labour; increasing the amount of Protein to 150 
grams, with fats and carbohydrates to a total fuel 
value of 4,500 large calories per diem. 



ite dietaries had worn him out and he 
was going for a rest. Later I heard 
of him in a sanatorium — surely dis- 
graceful to a doctor to be compelled to 
go to such a place for ''treatment." 

The race, or contest, never took 
place, but since then I personally have 
several times broken records estab- 
lished by men one-half, and even one- 
third, of my age with progressive ease 
up to three years ago when last put to 
a test, and I have noted no letting-up 
of the progress of recuperation as 
judged by "feelings'' or endurance 
when doing unusual stunts. 

In this direction I now feel that 1 
have done enough, and that it is not for 
age to tempt Providence by competing 
with the Prime of Muscularity in feats 
of strength and endurance. John L. 
Sullivan and Jefferies and many more 
went once too often into the ring, and 
Mother Nature, not Corbett or Jack 
Johnson, knocked them out for good 
and all. Fletcherizing does not include 

[III] . 

fletcherism: what it is 

either imprudence or bluff. It merely 
trusts good Mother Nature for direc- 
tions to accompany her nutriment-medi- 
cine. Whenever at any time I feel the 
impulse to turn somersaults from the 
lead platform of a man-of-war into 
good, clean salt-water — as I did a few 
years ago or so in the Philippines, as a 
demonstration to impress the natives — 
I will "up and do it, or die in the at- 
tempt" What I am doing now more 
than ever is keeping my ear to the 
mouth of Mother Nature, my finger on 
her pulse of command, and doing her 
biddings as well as I can interpret them. 
If a thing is not agreeable to do, I take 
it as a warning not to do it. There are 
so many useful things to do that are 
pleasant, what is the use of going out 
of the way to do disagreeable things. 
There are some things that are natural 
and agreeable that we should do, and 
which we have got out of the habit of 
doing, physical exercise, for instance. 
We are dealing with cultivated abnor- 



malities always in a cramped and com- 
plex civilisation. "We are constantly 
doing the things that we should not do, 
and leaving undone those things that 
we ought to do/' as the Prayer Book 
tells us, including carelessness of eat- 
ing, and shirking physical exercise. 

To return to the callow book of the 
canny doctor-son of my antagonist of 
a dozen years ago. It isn't so callow 
as it is canny, and since the persons in 
the case are of the canniest of peoples, 
those who are so shrewd that Jewish 
merchants do not thrive among them, 
and the prescription results in thou- 
sands of pounds a year revenue, the 
game may be set down to ordinary com- 
mercial cupidity and popular gullibility. 
It is safe to always warn against Pre- 
scription for Revenue. Like patriot- 
ism or religion for revenue, it is 
questionable, if not surely selfishly 

On the other hand. Mother Nature 
charges no fee for her advice. She 


fletcherism: what it is 

pays good coin as a premium for her 
patients in the same way that I bribed 
my first test subjects into eating right 
by paying them for eating in addition 
to furnishing the food. 


who are too lazy, or incredulous, or 
careless, to take a month to try the 
Mother Nature Prescription as inter- 
preted by me, are liable to say: ''Ap- 
petite is abnormal. Taste is perverted, 
and the demands of the body are wholly 

True! But abnormality of that sort 
can be corrected in a very short time. 
A "poor chap" who is lucky enough to 
have to go without food long enough 
to "whinney like a horse" at the smell 
of fresh-baked bread and the thought 
of good Danish butter on it, is not go- 
ing to "turn up his nose" at even a crisp 
baked potato; neither is he likely to re- 
quire sweetbreads to coax himself to 
eat. Correcting perverted appetite is 



like purifying a stream which is being 
polluted at its source and runs muddy 
all the way to the sea. Stop the pollu- 
tion, and the stream will purify itself 
as fast as ever it can by hurrying along 
with its impurities to the great ocean 




Fletcherism and Longevity — W. E. Gladstone, Fletch- 
erite — Fletcherizing Liquids — Getting the Best 
out of Everything — The Study of Mother- 

Since the term 'Tletcherite" is in- 
corporated in some of the latest dic- 
tionaries, it is proper that the person 
whose name has been used for the 
designation should define what consti- 
tutes a Fletcherite. 

Any person who eats in a healthy 
manner is a Fletcherite. 

Any person who eats in a polite man- 
ner is a Fletcherite. 

Any person who is faithful to his end 
of responsibility in securing healthy 
nutrition for himself is a respectable 
eater and a good Fletcherite. 


The above definitions are fully com- 
prehensive, but sometimes it is more 
effective to describe a thing by telling 
what it is not, and leaving the remain- 
der as an inferential description. 

Following this suggestion, it is safe 
to say, that : 

Any one who eats when he is not 
hungry or what his appetite does not 
approve, is not a Fletcherite. 

All this presupposes the ordinary op- 
portunity for selection in civilized com- 
munities where this book is liable to be 
read and where its revelations and 
recommendations are most needed. 

Any one who does not give his ap- 
petite a chance to guide him to healthy 
nutrition is not a Fletcherite. 

Any one who does not extract all of 
the taste from his food, while it is in 
the region where taste is developed, is 
not a Fletcherite. 

Any one who succumbs to greed of 


fletcherism: what it is 

"getting the worth of his money," be- 
cause he has paid for food, or can get 
food free of cost, or takes it on the in- 
sistence of Aggressive HospitaHty, or 
to kill time, or for any purpose other 
than for the satisfaction of a real ap- 
petite, is not a Fletcherite. 


Returning to positive definition of a 
Fletcherite: it is a good safe betting 
proposition that all persons who have 
passed the seventy year-mark in the life 
race are Fletcherites in the fundamen- 
tal requirement of healthy eating. If 
they reach beyond the eighty year- 
mark it is certain that they have been 
fairly decent eaters for many years, even 
if they abused themselves earlier in life. 
For example : vide the autobiography of 
Luigi Cornaro, which was concluded 
only when he was nearly one hundred 
years old. Vide also, occasional news- 
paper statements attributed to cente- 
narians or near centenarians who claim 


to have been Fletcherites before 
Fletcher was born. Some of them 
have had the "constitution '' necessary 
to attain the respectable longevity and 
have used tobacco and alchohol at the 
same time, but there is no evidence that 
either tobacco or alcohol lengthened 
their lives. In the same category of 
questionably-profitable indulgences may 
be put any of the stimulants or nar- 
cotics which do not actually nourish the 


The Epicureans, who were true to 
the principles of Epicurus, were 
Fletcherites, before the name of 
Fletcher had evolved the occupation of 
arrow making and archery. Mr. 
Gladstone was a philosophical Fletcher- 
ite before Fletcher discovered that he 
had a mouth that was worth while 
studying and using, but the name did 
not get into the dictionary as describing 
his most statesman-like inspiration. 


fletcherism: what it is 

A Fletcherite does not confine his 
Fletcherizing to food. He is en- 
couraged, by the beneficial results of 
careful eating, to try the same method 
of co-operating with Opportunity on 
anything that has good and bad pos- 
sibilities in it. 


For example : careful tasting of food 
reveals felicities of taste which lead to 
seeking similar rewards wherever taste 
is to be found. Take liquids: The 
only liquid that does not invite Fletch- 
erizing with some deliberation, but 
seems eager to get into the blood to 
quench thirst is Water. If it is not 
pure water, soft, cool as if from a 
spring, and delicious in its purity, it 
has an inclination to stop a little in the 
mouth and give taste a chance to in- 
vestigate or to get something worth 
while out of it. Do not think that in- 
animate things have no sense of pro- 
priety! Everything natural is as full 


of propriety as an ''tgg is full of meat/' 
Nature is Propriety! 

Mineral waters, lemonade, beer, 
wine, and even milk have delicate 
senses of propriety. They do not rush 
to be sucked up for the mere relief of 
thirst, like pure water, but they linger 
a bit in the domain of taste and infer- 
entially say: "I am tasty; don't you 
want to taste me: When I am swal- 
lowed my gustatory charm is dead and 
gone forever; please let me leave my 
taste with you, good Mr. Taste.'' 

Do not think this is a fanciful personi- 
fication of the liquids which have taste. 
Don't take my word for it. I am only 
telling you what Taste has told me, and 
also told me to tell it to you. The next 
time you are thirsty and have a chance 
to get good pure water, note if it doesn't 
rush to swallow itself in about one- 
ounce swallows until the thirst is satis- 
fied. If it is too cold it will want to 
wait a minute to get to the temperature 
of the body in the hot room of the 


fletcherism: what it is 

mouth, before rushing in to chill the 
stomach, and if it is too warm it will 
not give the full satisfaction that 
spring-cool water gives, showing that 
Taste has a wider usefulness than mere 
glorifying of sapid substances. Or: is 
it Feeling that assists Taste in express- 
ing approval or disapproval of liquid as 
well as solid nutriment? 


From Fletcherizing things which 
pass through the laboratory of the 
mouth, it is most natural to call on 
Mother Nature in her stately propriety 
to assist in getting the best and most 
out of everything from a kernel of corn 
to the World at Large. 

In the personal equipment, muscular 
exercise, mental discipline, and habits 
of effectiveness come in at once for 
analysis and separation. 

Outside the personality, companion- 
ship is of most vital concern, and the 


wonder will be how soon the Natural 
Appetite for profitable companionship 
will choose some dogs in preference to 
some human beings, for the qualities of 
sympathy, approval and faithfulness 
that every social being craves. 

Of course, there are some companion- 
able combinations among men that are 
more satisfactory and profitable than 
any dumb animal can possibly supply, 
but it is for the purpose of finding such 
combinations that the Fletcherizing of 
friends is useful. There is much good 
in every one, as there is in everything 
that Nature offers as nourishment for 
the body, but everything has its Appro- 
priate place and time, its harmonious 
supplements and compliments, and this 
is true regarding companionships. 
"What IS one man's ,food, is another 
man's poison," is a truism applicable 
alike to companionship and friendship. 
It is equally true regarding honesty and 
dishonesty; truth and deceit. 

fletcherism: what it is 

the study of mother nature 

The foregoing constitutes a pretty 
stiff proposition for the measurement of 
ideal Fletcherism, but when you come 
to consider that the aim is nothing less 
than getting as close to Mother Nature 
as possible and listening to her orders 
relative to good team-work between us, 
the contract does not seem so impos- 
sible. It was close study of Mother 
Nature and her laws of gravity and re- 
sistance that led Lillienthal, the Ger- 
man, to try to glide on the "wings of 
the wind'' with imitations of the wings 
of birds, and it was following Cha- 
nute's lead that led the Wright Broth- 
ers to develop the flying-machine. It 
was because of tutelage in the honest 
school of Mother Nature that the 
Wright Brothers prefaced their first ac- 
count of their "invention'' by giving 
the French aviator credit for the initial 

In similiar manner, it was the close, 


objective study of the psychology of di- 
gestion under the honest direction of 
Mother Nature in a somewhat drastic 
form that led Pawlow, the Russian 
physiologist, to preface his account of 
his great achievement by calling up the 
memory of the French physiologist 
Blondlot, and telling that he had de- 
scribed the true process of digestion 
from logical deduction fifty years be- 

In like manner, Professor Cannon, 
of Harvard University Medical School, 
insisted that dear Dr. Bowditch, his 
preceptor in Physiology, had laid out 
for him the line of X-ray studies of the 
''Mechanism of Digestion," which has 
given him distinguished research fame. 
Getting close to Mother Nature opens 
up infinite possibilities of enlighten- 
ment, and among them cultivation of 
the honesty and unselfishness which she 
herself typifies. 




Dietetic Righeousness — ^The Disgrace of Sickness — 
The Optimism of the Fletcherite 

In order that there shall be no mis- 
understanding let us agree upon the 
dictionary definition of "Decent." It 
IS "Having propriety of conduct." 

Let us also take the dictionary defini- 
tion of Fletcherite, as an agreed mean- 
ing. It is: "One who practises 

Fletcherism, in turn, is defined as 
"A method of thorough mastication 
recommended by Horace Fletcher." 

No self-respecting person wishes to 
be indecent about anything, and espe- 
cially about things that are sacred. 

I use the term "Indecent" because it 
has an ugly look and sound. It is more 



than thoughtless or careless. It is 
positively indecent and nothing less. 
So is ugly and irreverential eating 
more culpable than mere heedlessness 
when we come to consider what it 
means in the way of consequences. It 
spells Indecency from the beginning to 
the end of the process involved in the 

You may have a very poor opinion of 
the namesake in the case, but you must 
be glad that he discovered for himself 
that decent eating means recuperation 
of health if it has been shaken: preser- 
vation of health if it is a fortunate pos- 
session: and epicurean enjoyment that 
cannot be realized in full without it. 

I repeat that the term Fletcherite is 
not a personal monopoly but a popular 
and dictionary creation. I am selfish 
enough to be glad that Gladstone 
escaped the distinction of having his 
great name used as a designation of 
decent eating. 


fletcherism: what it is 

dietetic righteousness 

When I was called upon to deliver an 
address before the New York Academy 
of Medicine on ''Possibilities of Recup- 
eration after Fifty," I used a phrase of 
my own coining, "Dietetic Righteous- 
ness,'" and was later called to account 
for having been irreverent in using 
sacred terms in connection with food 
and eating. "By George!" I replied, 
in righteous indignation, "Is there any- 
thing more sacred than serving faith- 
fully at the altar of our Holy Effi- 
ciency?" "Is there any righteousness 
more respectable than that which fur- 
nishes fuel for healthy efficiency and 
moral stability?" And the question 
may now be repeated, "Is there?" 

As for indecency: Is there any con- 
duct having less propriety than regard- 
ing our wonderful mouth, with its pro- 
digious potency for protection and 
pleasure, as a mere food and drink hop- 
per for good material, which becomes 



really swill in the alimentary canal if it 
is not properly treated in the mouth? 
Can any one think of anything more in- 
decent than offensive odours which are 
the inevitable tell-tale of indecent eat- 
ing, and which are eliminated from 
possibility of development if eating has 
been decently performed? The pen- 
ance, or even pleasure, of frequent bath- 
ing, in order that the tell-tales of in- 
decency may not become public, does 
not atone for the sinning in the begin- 
ning. The real damage has been done 
in the, and to the, delicate alimentary 
canal, with consequences to be realized 
later on in terms of odious disease or 
premature death. These are the in- 
side facts in the case made bare by 
frank presentation. 


I believe it was the great American 

philosopher, Emerson, who said that it 

is "A greater disgrace to be sick than 

to be in the penitentiary. When you 


fletcherism: what it is 

are arrested it is because you have 
broken a man-made statute, but when 
you are ill, it is because you have dis- 
obeyed one of God's laws." As else- 
where remarked, it is almost impossible 
in civilized surroundings not to disobey 
some of the natural laws: body-venti- 
lation, first of all; but no sinning is so 
dreadfully punished as indecent eating 
persistently practised. 

Some of the ancients believed that 
the mysterious Something that they 
called the Soul was located in the stom- 
ach and not in the heart or brain. 
There was reason for thus placing the 
location, because the bad effect of un- 
happy thought or anything that 
"touches the heart" is first felt in the 
stomach if it has any troubles of its 
own at the moment to worry about, due 
to indecent haste or carelessness in eat- 
ing. To the habitual Fletcherite such 
double disaster does not come. Easy 
digestion has been assured by begin- 
ning it in the manner required by 


Mother Nature, and to arrest it by un- 
favourable psychic influence for a Httle 
time does not result in the production 
of those poisons which wear out the 
body faster than any other cause. The 
worst of news may be sprung on one as 
a terrible surprise, and cloud the hap- 
piness for a time without causing dam- 
age to the delicate vital organs. Thus 
the misfortune, or its opposite in dis- 
guise, as the case may be, does not set 
up a vicious circle of accumulating fad 
effects. The thorough Fletcherite is a 
philosopher, with a solid foundation 
for his or her faith in the Good that 
may be lodged in even seeming misfor- 
tune, and the recovery from the shock 
of disappointment, in order to discover 
the Good at next hand, is as speedy as 
desired. The faithful one is ever ready 
to go before the bar of Death's Tri- 
bunal for the approving judgment his 
dietetic righteousness is sure to secure. 
Good circles of healthy cause and effect 
have been swirling about in the organ- 


fletcherism: what it is 

ism as the result of faithful decent eat- 
ing, and Nature or Nature's God never 
fail to perpetuate the evolution of the 


Fairness or politeness to the part of 
the wonderful alimentary canal which 
Mother Nature has assigned to herself 
to manage is .nothing more than com- 
mon decency; and no privacy of priv- 
ilege can ever excuse any indecent eat- 
ing. Just think of all the latitude 
Mother Nature has given her favourite 
child man in the way of easy conven- 
ience in doing the right thing in eating. 
He is not compelled to eat every few 
minutes to keep himself alive, as he is 
compelled to do in breathing: or every 
few days, as in hydrating his internal 
economy with moisture. Never is he 
caught with his bunkers empty of food 
for fuel or repair material. Be he as 
thin as a hatpin, comparatively, he has 
stored under his skin enough nourish- 


ment to last him comfortably for a 
month. Neither is he terrorised by the 
conventional gnawing of hunger. He 
is per force wise as to the physiology of 
nourishment and his stored resources 
within, and turns any impatience for 
his habitual rhythm of feeding into a 
savings bank fund for use when con- 
venient. He is not frightened to death, 
as indecent thinkers or eaters are, by 
the prospect of a fast lasting a few 
hours or days. He knows that he has 
on him and in him enough reserve sup- 
ply of nourishment in the form of visible 
or interstitial fat, and other necessary 
supply, to last for a long time, forty or 
fifty days, at least, and there is plenty 
of time for expected or unexpected 
relief to happen. He comes to know 
the value of his mechanism, and the 
mental and soul essence it produces and 
supports. His knowledge of his own 
resourcefulness is sufficient to enable 
him to conserve all vital strength until 
hoped for relief comes. Or, being in 

fletcherism: what it is 

tune with the good intentions of the 
Universal Life of which he is a part, 
he never dreads the promotion we call 
death. It is merely a station on the 
road of evolution, and just as sure as 
we are of death and taxes, so is a faith- 
ful Fletcherite certain that he is travel- 
ling the road of natural evolution. He 
has not only eaten decently in the way 
of fulfilling the natural mechanical and 
chemical requirements in the mouth, 
but he has abstained from eating when 
the mental state was not favourable, 
and has refrained from worry when 
the prospect of a meal was deferred for 
a little while or indefinitely. He may 
have been whinnying like a healthy 
horse in anticipation of revelling in the 
delights of delicious taste, and yet is 
not filled with disappointment at the 
postponement of the expected pleasure 
if the dinner appointment is upset or 

This quite Utopian possibility of 
stable equanimity is the assured result 


of consistent decent eating, and think- 
ing relative to nutrition. It is the con- 
stitution and bye-laws of Fletcherism. 
As a natural presumption, when de- 
cency in one direction leads to such 
delightful fruition, the opposite of it, 
indecency, must swing its pendulum 
to the extent of its full scope in the 
contrary direction, and it does, for com- 
pensation is one of the laws of Nature 
that must be fulfilled. It is true that 
Nature is always trying to accom- 
modate herself to any abuse. She may 
permit being so much accustomed to 
it that the punishment of it at the 
moment is not noticed. She even en- 
courages the acceleration of the vicious 
circle that leads to momentary bank- 
ruptcy of resistance, penitence, and re- 
form, as in the case of "bilious at- 
tacks.'' The man who takes his daily 
or hourly prescription of alcoholic stim- 
ulant is permitted to believe that if a 
little seems good, more should be better 
until he is landed under the table. He 


fletcherism: what it is 

becomes more and more efficient in 
'^standing" the abuse until "under the 
table'' means "under the sod." The ab- 
•uses have, however, been just as dis- 
agreeable to Normality all the way 
along as the first drop of alcohol was 
distasteful to the infant in arms. So, 
too, with tobacco, in a less violent form. 

Faithful practice of decent eating re- 
verses the order of progress. Normal- 
ity of taste is the new direction taken. 
Appetite is given a chance to discrimi- 
nate, and it chooses simple food, having 
the chemical constituents required by the 
body at the moment. It accommodates 
itself to the daily activity, and can be 
trusted as the only completely-wise 
prescriber of what food to take, and 
how much of it the body can utilize 
just then. 

Herein lies the value of decent re- 
spect for Appetite in securing optimum 
digestion and nutrition. It does not 
treat all persons alike because no two 
persons can be alike. Infinite variety 



is the fundamental law of Nature. 
Some persons are born to carry more 
fat than others. To try to keep them 
thin IS a sin against the natural inten- 
tion. To allow them to become too fat 
is also a sin. Strictly decent eating 
settles this question in conjunction with 
the sort and amount of activity that the 
particular person is intended by his or 
her " Hereditary Tendency " to exert. 




Tramp Reform — (A Remarkable Man — ^How to Enjoy 
Wine — Fletcherism as a Cure for Morbid Crav- 
ings — A Trial of Fletcherism and its Results — 
Fletcherism as First Aid 

Now we come to a phase of the merits 
of Fletcherism which has already fur- 
nished an abundance of evidence to its 
credit. In my first experiment, not yet 
under academic supervision, with no 
laboratory measurements wherewith to 
describe the results in chemical terms, 
I was dealing with a company of or- 
dinary tramps picked up in the streets 
of Chicago. They simply ate what 
they chose to order from the bill of fare 
of a cheap restaurant, but were told to 
chew everything for all it was worth, 



which they made no objection to doing. 
Time was of no value to them, and they 
really discovered new delights of gus- 
tatory pleasure which they had not 
known before. Tramps are generally 
persons of resourcefulness and have 
a cultivated appreciation. Their re- 
sourcefulness consists chiefly of being 
able to live without working, and their 
appreciation is made keen by the lot- 
tery of chance in seeking to get some- 
thing for which they give nothing. 

My tramps were beery and bleery as 
tramps generally are, but not so dirty; 
for I paid for baths, washing, and in 
some instances furnished clothing. Be- 
sides supplying these luxuries, I gave 
them occasionally a big silver dollar 
which they called a ''cart wheel.'' 

It was surprising to see these degen- 
erates freshen up in appearance and 
lose their blotchiness and greasiness of 
facial appearance. I knew how to talk 
to them to get their confidence, and they 
looked on me as just another "freak" 


fletcherism: what it is 

like themselves, but with some kind of 
a money "pull." 

There were fat and thin among them, 
and it was a matter of surprise that 
after a little some of the thin got stouter 
and the fat fell off in weight at the 
same time. One of them was a bellig- 
erent socialist and the author of a well- 
known book which had quite a vogue in 
the earlier history of present-day so- 

Up to the time I began my own ex- 
periment, I had been a social drinker 
of alcohol in all forms to the full extent 
of "gentlemanly decency," with occa- 
sional slips when near the outer edge 
that made me ashamed of myself after 
I got sober again. I am now more 
ashamed than ever when I am reminded 
of my early foolishness, but since my 
experiences are being turned to good 
account I forgive myself. Not only 
were social occasions an excuse, but I 
often ordered the social occasions to 
serve as an excuse. I had never re- 


sorted to snake-bites to give legitimate 
excuses, but I so crowded my resources 
in this direction that at one time I held 
the "record," for the community in 
which I lived, for what was called "hol- 
lowness of legs and steadiness of head," 
and so much was this "strength of char- 
acter" valued in that community in 
America, that one was supposed to take 
pride in holding the record. 

The result of my own pursuit of 
thorough tasting of my food had been 
that my own ponderosity of front 
weight fell off, and at the same time I 
had no desire for wine or beer. It was 
all a surprise to me, but it was not an 
amazing surprise until one day one of 
my tramp guests came to me and said: 
"Boss, this eatin' game is great; think 
of me with a dollar in my pocket and 
not wantin' beer." 

In a short time I forgot that I had 
ever liked wine or beer. It never oc- 
curred to me to order it except for a 
guest, and then I took it with him, or, 


fletcherism: what it is 

rather them, for there were usually 
several or many at my eating parties, 
but in the Fletcherian manner which is 
so eminently Epicurean that a few sips 
went as far as a half-bottle used to do. 
Here is an important point in profitable 
economics that any one can demon- 
strate for himself at once and not rely 
on my sayso, or that of any one else. 
Later on I will tell how to do it. The 
secret is worth its weight in gold as an 
Epicurean prize as well as a money- 
saver. I have to tell, a little further 
on, of a very large experiment which 
came as a surprise also. It was in a 
section of country, and among a class 
of people, where to escape from the 
toils of the drink demon is nothing 
short of a miracle. 


But before I relate this climaxic ex- 
perience I will once more refer to one 
of the most remarkable men I have had 
the pleasure of meeting. His case 


covers more sides of healthy variety 
than that of almost any one, but he has 
even a better showing in some respects 
than any. He is an M.D. ; a Ph.D. ; an 
Sc.D.; an A.M.; and a P.H.D.; which 
last is the ''stiffest exam." of them all. 
He is a champion athlete; the father of 
an all-round college champion; and as 
graceful a gymnast as any one ever saw 
do the "Giant Swing" on the horizontal 
bar. He is also a grandfather and 
now past fifty. 

This was his experience in 1902 or 
1903, in connection with my being 
called to New Haven to submit to ex- 
amination under the supervision of Pro- 
fessor Chittenden. It is Dr. Ander- 
son to whom I refer, and he permits my 
stating his experience as often as I 
like for the good it will do. My ex- 
pression of appreciation of his academic 
and athletic accomplishments is all my 
own and not authorized. 

When I was turned over to Dr. 
Anderson for physical examination in 


fletcherism: what it is 

the Yale gymnasium, my fitness was 
surprising to him as he has stated in 
his reports. He was also ripe for the 
reasonableness of my revelations. He 
seemed to me to be in the "pink of con- 
dition" himself, and he was so, as 
"pink" was judged at the time, for a 
man of his age. 

Dr. Anderson tried more careful 
mastication than usual, and paid more 
attention to the thorough enjoyment of 
his food with the same pleasant results 
that come to everybody when making 
the trial, no matter how moderate and 
temperate they have been before. It is 
equivalent to putting a little keener 
edge on appetite than usual. Children 
and even fine ladies will perk up a little 
when they are conscious of being 
noticed, and the human senses are hu- 
man in more ways than one. 

Dr. Anderson was pleased with the 
revelation as a pleasure promoter, but 
did not notice that he was forgetting to 


take his daily prescription of stimulant. 
He was a medical man, past forty, be- 
ginning to slack up a little in his elas- 
ticity and strength. He was reaching 
that age when even the most temperate 
and careful begin to be a little lenient 
with themselves. His doctor friends 
were in the habit of prescribing a little 
stimulant to counter-balance this ex- 
pected decline in energy and he took 
their advice. It was the medical fad 
of the period. 

At first, Dr. Anderson ordered for 
himself one small drink of good medic- 
inal whisky a day, and the effect was 
as expected. By and bye, however, a 
little more was needed, and this increas- 
ing demand continued its insistence un- 
til three drinks were no more efficacious 
than one had been at first. When I 
was introduced to him he had begun on 
his fourth drink daily, and yet burned 
it up in his exercise without feeling it 


fletcherism: what it is 

A couple of weeks after he began to 
check up my test by personal expe- 
rience, which is the only scientific way, 
he all at once remembered, one day, that 
he had forgotten to take his whisky, 
and yet he was fitter than usual. I had 
not mentioned my own experience in 
this regard to him, I believe, as when 
we were together he kept me busy with* 
the exercises of the ^Varsity crew, and 
I had little chance to give him accounts 
of my full experience. Besides, it did 
not occur to me that it would interest 
him who seemed to be moderation and 
temperance personified. And so he 
was, according to the scientific estimate 
of the time, but Nature has another 
standard of temperance, and under her 
strict guidance very little but good 
spring water is needed or desired. 


To illustrate this and also suggest a 
way of letting Mother Nature prove 
that I represent her correctly in this 



important matter, I will give an account 
of an actual happening. 

I was lecturing in Buffalo, New 
York, in America, and was invited to 
address the members of the sumptuous 
Buffalo Club. I dwelt especially on 
Fletcherizing as a means of getting the 
good and the best out of food and drink, 
and yet for little cost, and at the close 
of the lecture a dozen or more of the 
audience asked me to demonstrate my 
point as above. I was happy to do this, 
and called for a pint of the choicest still 
wine, with cordial glasses. The re- 
quest caused a smile among some of my 
hosts who were proud of being "one 
bottle" consumers. 

When the wine came I poured out 
half a cordial glass as the portion I 
selected for myself and recommended 
the same prescription for the others, as 
a "starter.'' Then I breathed and 
sipped my delicious grape-juice, as I 
had learned to do from the professional 
wine-tasters on the Rhine, in Germany, 


fletcherism: what it is 

and in the Burgundy region, in France. 
The others did the same, and seemed to 
get unusual satisfaction from both the 
boquet and the taste. 

What happens is this: You sense 
the wine by means of the olfactories as 
you would breathe in the odour of a 
delicately perfumed flower. Taste is 
excited and becomes jealous of Smell. 
You give Taste a taste. Something 
more subtle than taste ; a sort of aroma, 
so to speak, spreads over the head. 
You feel the taste of the delicacy up 
around the temples, and the sensation 
is delightful in the extreme, fading 
slowly away but leaving a lovely mem- 
ory impression. 

Then you take another sip, and the 
sensation is about the same, and so on 
for a sip or two more, when the suprem- 
est delicacy of the wine ceases to ex- 
press itself. Two or three sips more, 
and the wine no longer tastes good. 
Carried further, in this appetite-re- 



specting manner, there will be a desire 
to spit out the sips, and there is no 
temptation to drink them. 

Professional wine-tasters are sup- 
posed never to drink wine. After tast- 
ing it they spit out the remnant from 
which the taste has been exhausted. 
Tea tasters and beer tasters and special 
food tasters do the same in order to 
preserve their keen taste discrimination. 

There is just as definite Swallowing 
Sense and Expectorating Sense as there 
is Taste Sense. There is just as strong 
Appetite Sense for proteid, when the 
body is short of it, as there is thirst- 
demand for water for the rehydration 
of the body. The Senses have sense! 

Returning to the Buffalo Club ex- 
periment in demonstrating Epicurean 
Temperance: The half-bottle of wine 
gave more satisfaction to the dozen or 
more members of the Club who partici- 
pated in the experiment than any of 
them knew was possible. 

fletcherism: what it is 


It IS not necessary to supply expen- 
sive wine for the complete satisfaction 
of the most delicate epicureanism if 
Fletcherizing is employed as an habit- 
ual cream-separating means. The 
cream of common wheat bread, and of 
anything that the normalized appetite 
favours, is as satisfying when the body 
is in need of what it contains as are 
drops of the most costly Johannisberger 
of the rarest vintages, and nothing but 
water thoroughly quenches real thirst. 

The "testimonials'' of one sort and 
another, including letters and verbal ac- 
count, attesting to the effect of natural 
eating on abnormal desires or cravings, 
number thousands. The reform has 
not been the result of suggestion, al- 
though in some cases suggestion has as- 
sisted the cure of intemperate yearn- 
ings. Not alone has craving for alco- 
holic stimulant been abated, but in other 



ways morbidity has been corrected, and 
I as well as some medical men I know, 
have received grateful acknowledgment 
of the happiness secured by the natural 
sloughing off of weaknesses or passions 
which had been a source of self-hatred. 
Think what immunity from such bane- 
ful possibilities means to youth of both 
sexes ! 


The very large test of Fletcherism as 
a temperance expedient hereinbefore re- 
ferred to was entirely accidental. It 
occurred in a community of students of 
a missionary college in Tennessee. 

The institution is conducted under 
religious auspices, the sect supporting it 
being that called "Seventh-Day Advent- 
ists." The buildings are on a large 
farm, and most of the students earn 
their board and tuition by doing farm 
work. Many subsist by what is called 
"boarding themselves," that is: pur- 


fletcherism: what it is 

chasing raw food and doing their own 
cooking. To assist in this independ- 
ence there is a commissary where every- 
thing needed is bartered or sold. 

One of the prominent persons in the 
Adventist denomination is Dr. Kellog, 
Superintendent of the Battle Creek 
Sanatorium, who from the beginning 
has been one of the most ardent advo- 
cates and teachers of Fletcherism, and 
to whom is largely due the permanency 
of its designation as "Fletcherism.'' 

During a visit to the Tennessee insti- 
tution, Dr. Kellog so successfully 
preached the merits of natural eating, 
that all the students were induced to 
give it a trial as a health and economic 

The trial was conducted under obser- 
vation for six months, when an account- 
ing was made. During the six months 
the drafts on the commissary had been 
a trifle less than half what they for- 
merly had been, and at the same time the 
community had been free from the 



usual "seasonable" and bilious com- 
plaints or illnesses. No one had been 
cured of a craving for alcohol, for the 
reason that all were teetotalers on prin- 
ciple, but the sheer economy and health- 
fulness of the results obtained were of 
prodigious importance to young per- 
sons "working their way through col- 
lege." The amount of the benefit can 
be imagined when it is considered that 
they needed to work less on the farm to 
earn their food because the food-bill 
was much reduced. The time saved 
from work was available for study, and 
the increase of energy and immunity 
from sickness added enormously to the 
average studentability. 

One day there was brought to the in- 
stitution on a stretcher a poor chap of 
the neighbourhood, crazy with delirium 
tremens. In the infirmary of the col- 
lege emergency patients were received, 
as part of the missionary training is 

The sorry dipsomaniac was sobered- 


fletcherism: what it is 

up in the usual way and instructed in 
the process of Fletcherizing. He took 
kindly to it, as all do who have been 
dietetic sinners, and the result was the 
same as with the beery and bleery tramp 
mentioned in the early part of this 
chapter. He lost his "taste" for 
''booze" and continued the incident by 
becoming a worker on the place and a 
sound temperance example. 

Here is a revelation worth while to 
the missionary workers. Their field of 
service was the mountain districts of 
their State and the neighbouring State 
of North Carolina, which are famous 
for their moonshine whisky stills. The 
whisky distilled in the mountains does 
not pay any Internal Revenue tax if it 
can be avoided, and hence the stills are 
hidden in deep forests and operated by 
the light of the moon. The inhabitants 
of these lawless regions are the poor- 
est of the poor and call down the con- 
tempt of the negroes. They are called 
"poor white trash," and moonshine 



whisky that will kill at fifty yards is 
responsible for much of the poverty and 
trashiness. They are as good marks 
for missionary sympathy as any *'hea- 
then'' the world can produce anywhere. 
I have been among them all and I as- 
sure you, these listless and luckless 
inebriates of the poor white trash 
regions are the most pitiable. 


As soon as the incident of the victim 
of delirium tremens had been measured 
at its full significance, it dawned upon 
the missionaries that Fletcherism was 
to be their most potent assistant in cur- 
ing the mountaineers of their vices and 
preparing them for religious instruc- 
tion. They were won over to the ideal 
of Dietetic Corpoculture as "First Aid 
to the Injured" in establishing Temper- 
ance on a sound basis. 

Thus it was that the graduated mis- 
sionaries introduced themselves to their 
charges by building simple ovens of 


fletcherism: what it is 

road-side stones in rail-fence corners, as 
field surveyors might do, and invited 
those who came along to feed with 

There is never any trouble in securing 
guests at a feed anywhere, and it is ex- 
tremely easy among the poor to whom 
free food means less work and more 
leisure. It is easy, too, to get the ears 
and attention of guests at meals who 
would like to be invited again. It is 
also easy to teach Fletcherizihg to 
youthful dinner-guests, as Madame La 
Marquise de Chamberay and I found out 
in connection with our East Side in- 
vestigation in New York.* 

The result of this strategy on the 
part of the Tennessee missionaries was 
reported to a meeting at the Battle 
Creek Sanatorium, and the summary of 
the good attained up to that time was 

* This reference is to an unique experiment in New 
York, account of which will sometime be published 
under the title of "Parties of Politeness," a name 
suggested by the little guests themselves. 



as follows : More than a thousand per- 
sons were saving an average of $3.00 
a month on the cost of their sustenance, 
and were temperance converts through 
the sloughing off of all desire for their 
moonshine product. Think of a saving 
from sheer waste of $3,000 a month 
($36,000 a year) to a community where 
$1,000 is considered to be a princely 
fortune, and a saving of a thousand 
human units from the scrap-heap of 
worse than death! 




Gluttony and Avoirdupois — Contentment — Fletcher- 
ism and Political Economy 

While it is true that ''Variety is the 
spice of life," and that an appetising 
variety of plain food is more tempting 
than a monotony of the most highly- 
spiced dishes, every tendency of mod- 
ern menus is a menace to health, and 
the only way to counteract the menace 
is to be especially careful in observing 
the rules of Epicurean Economy. 

If the soup is particularly good, there 
is a temptation to go on and completely 
satisfy the appetite on it. It requires 
the restraint of civilized suppression to 
keep from following the example of 
Oliver Twist, calling for more and 
more till the supply or appetite is ex- 



Then comes the fish: Who can re- 
sist accepting a generous helping of 
this course, served in any one of the 
dozens of styles that are familiar to 
the patrons of French restaurants? 
And how hard it is to refrain from 
cleaning up the plate in a hurry so that 
none of it will be whisked away by the 
waiter to make room for course number 

Nothing has been said of the Hors 
d'ceuvres of the French menu, or the 
Ris Tavel of the Dutch East Indian 
gorge, or the Smoer Gose of a Scandi- 
navian "Spread." A fairly ravenous 
person, given time enough, and with 
no one looking, can be counted on to 
make a "square meal" on these "ap- 
petizers" alone before the soup is an- 

Mention of the "Roast;' the "En- 
trees;' the ''Legumes;' the "Dessert;' 
and a bewildering variety of cheeses to 
be followed by fruit, nuts and raisins, 
with several different wines, cordials, 


fletcherism: what it is 

coffee, and cigars or cigarettes on the 
side. Even mention of them is Hkely 
to cause psychic indigestion. 

If one goes to a restaurant with a 
quarto, gih-top appetite, and scans one 
of the monster, modern, mixed menus 
for a suggestion of what he shall order, 
he will, undoubtedly, see five or six 
items that will appeal to his imagination 
as "just the thing" ; and if the cost is no 
special reason for restraint, he will put 
down on his order list twice or three 
times as much as he can possibly eat in 
order to be as many kinds of a fam dool 
as he can be at the moment. 

This is not an unreasonable or fan- 
tastic illustration of the menace of a 
multiple menu and a colossal appetite in 
convenient conjunction. It is said that 
an amorous lover has neither conscience 
nor discretion. This may sometimes 
be the case; but it is always a sure bet- 
ting proposition that an opulent, raven- 
ously-hungry person will measure off 


with his eager eyes much more than his 
tummy can possibly hold. 

Then follows the inclination of the 
average human being to "'get his 
money's worth/' even if he "must die 
for it." This is not alone a human 
characteristic exaggerated in sumptu- 
ously-civilized communities, but it is an 
animal trait as well. If a racehorse is 
turned out in a field of clover that 
stands as high as his neck, he will very 
likely eat himself to death. Likewise, 
if a little child, with the animal char- 
acteristics uppermost, is given a bag of 
sweets, he will be sure to want to put 
himself securely outside of the whole 
bag-full in the shortest time possible, 
so that he will make certain that no one 
will take it away from him. 


The menace of the munificent menu 
also leads to the uncomfortable ac- 
quisition of surplus avoirdupois. On 

fletcherism: what it is 

some persons it has quite the opposite 
effect, however. The writer remem- 
bers that it was a tradition in his col- 
lege that the thinnest man of a class was 
always the biggest glutton. Each 
year, a prize of a combination knife, 
fork, and spoon, was given to the gross- 
est eater of the junior class. Within 
my memory the recipient was always a 
very thin and cadaverous fellow. 

As a matter of fact, the hardest work 
done by the body is performed within 
the body. It is the work of digestion, 
general metabolism, and the constant 
and never-ceasing pumping of the blood 
through hundreds of miles of veins and 
arteries. If this work is measured in 
terms of heat units thrown off (cal- 
ories) the internal activity of the body 
is as two to three parts of the whole 
heat energy released into the surround- 
ing air. 

It is quite possible to increase this 
heat expense by 20 to 50 per cent, by 
merely overloading the stomach a little, 



and crowding the mechanism of metab- 
olism to its utmost. Sometimes the 
crowding is carried so far that the or- 
ganism cannot stand it; sometimes 
bursts ; and, there you are — dead. 


The supremest felicity is not wanting 
anything. If one cannot think of a 
single thing in the wide, wide world, 
not even oblivion, that they would have 
in addition to what they are enjoying 
at the moment, their cup of content- 
ment is full. 

In regard to eating, to have Fletcher- 
ized a few morsels of the finest food 
that anyone's mother ever made, until 
there is no desire for more, and yet the 
contentment is of that calm sort that in- 
dicates that there is no overloading of 
the stomach, is gastronomic Heaven, 
and it carries with it a blanket of gen- 
eral contentment that covers the uni- 

On the other hand, to have eaten un- 


fletcherism: what it is 

wisely, as the result of animal voracity, 
over-estimate of capacity, and greed of 
getting outside of all that must be paid 
for, or, in slavish deference to aggres- 
sive hospitality, is Hell from the finish 
of the meal until the finish of the "spell 
of sickness" that may follow the gorge. 
It were almost possible to sink into the 
depths of such gluttony on any one, two 
or three of the best dishes possible to im- 
agine; only a modern multiple mixed 
menu is liable to bring this degradation, 
and hence the menace of it. 

Suppose, again, you are framing up 
a business deal, and have a customer 
"on the string." The best way to get 
at his heart and pocket-book is through 
the sociability accompanying a sumptu- 
ous meal. 

You seek a Princess' Restaurant, a 
Ritz-Carlton or a Waldorf, and make a 
spread of your Epicurean generosity, 
your bank account, and your business 
web or net. If you insist on filling your 
guests full of everything, you must set 



the example. Results: Similar in all 

Science is not even secure against the 
temptation of the monumental menu. 
The writer has known the citadel of 
scientific conservatism to be captured by 
five-dollar still-wine and fifty-cent 
cigars, as accompaniments of six-course 
dinner-dreams. This, too, in the in- 
terest of an Epicurean Economy that 
put all of the academic teachings in the 
back-number list, and favored fifty- 
cent banquets with nary a cigar to top 
off the feast 


It may be argued that the waste at- 
tendant on sumptuous living is the most 
prolific means of keeping money in 
circulation: of putting bread into the 
mouth of the servant class: and that 
Spartan simplicity would throw the 
world back two thousand years in the 
civilized progress it has made. 

That might be true of some forms 


fletcherism: what it is 

of sumptuousness, but not as to the wan- 
ton waste of food through the temp- 
tations of magnificent menus. Food is 
the realest of all forms of wealth. 
Scarce ever a grain of wheat or kernel 
of corn is wasted. The story of the 
Englishman who visited Kansas, and 
from there took home to London a 
colossal joke at the expense of corn and 
Kansas, illustrates the permanence and 
indestructibility of food wealth. 

Riding through the State, with a 
native Kansan, an English globe-trotter 
wondered at the endless fields of yellow 
"maize." He called it maize, but the 
Kansan called it "corn." 

"What in the world do you do with 
all this maize?" said the mobilized 
Cockney. "Oh, that is easy," replied 
the native : "We eat what we can and 
we can what we can't." 

In due season this strange answer 
was interpreted to the visitor and he 
determined to can the joke for serving 
up at his club in London. 


Arriving in England, the joker made 
deliberate preparations to open his can 
of Kansas corn to the best effect. He 
invited a set of chappies to dine with 
him and the piece de resistance was 
Kansas canned corn. 

Having engineered the matter to the 
right point of curiosity, the host told 
the story of his visit to Kansas and 
finally exploded his iinale in this wise: 
"Do you know, these Americans out in 
the West are a jolly lot. They have a 
dry sort of wit, too. I was travelling 
in company with one of them through 
the State of Kansas, which is the great 
maize State of the country. They 
don't call it maize, however, they call it 
corn, and what we call corn they call 
wheat. Well, I was amazed at the 
miles and miles of maize — no pun in- 
tended and no apology needed — and 
asked my companion whatever in the 
world they did with it all. And what 
do you think he said: He said, 'We 


fletcherism: what it is 

eat what we can and the rest we put up 
in tins r" 

It took the perpetrator of the joke 
another week to find out why no one 
laughed, and spoiled everything by still 
waiting for the point after the real ex- 
plosion took place : and no international 
incident is recorded in the history of 
that day. 

Yes, the really most vital wealth is 
stored in the food treasuries. Pro- 
fusion of it carries down the prices and 
this raises wages by comparison. 
There is always a spot-cash market for 
food at some price, which is not the 
case with many other forms of prop- 

But the waste of the food material 
itself is insignificant compared to the 
waste of energy that must take place 
to get rid of it, the moment it is swal- 
lowed and beyond personal responsi- 
bility. The transportation of a car- 
load of wheat by rail from Saskatche- 
wan to the Atlantic seaboard by rail and 


across the ocean by steamer is small 
as compared with the expense of get- 
ting a mouthful of bolted bread through 
an alimentary canal that is congested 
with indigestion. 




The Value of Occasional Fasting — The Power of 
Freedom from Indigestion — Muscles have Mem- 

Almost everybody eats with suf- 
ficient care most of the time ; otherwise, 
all would be on the sick-list all the time 
and the death-rate would be increased 

Whatever sickness, depression, weak- 
ness and other illnesses there are now 
are the result of occasional carelessness 

The remedy for lapses from careful- 
ness is knowledge of what the natural 
requirements are, and training the mus- 
cles and functions employed in nutrition 
to work always with careful delibera- 
tion and never allow themselves to be 
hurried with their work. 


It should also be made a habit 


Without a keen appetite. This involves 
knowing how to recognise a true ap- 
petite and also how to detect a false 
craving. Waiting for a healthful call 
for food, for any length of time, can do 
no harm, and should not cause any dis- 
comfort or inconvenience; but exciting 
a false desire and taking food before 
the body is ''good and ready" for it, 
starts trouble brewing at once. 

If the worst results of premature or 
hurried eating were immediately felt, 
no one would get in the habit of sinning 
in this manner. Like auto-intoxica- 
tion from excess of alcohol, poisoning 
from unnecessary or unwelcome food 
— either an excess of it or when taken 
untimely — is an aftermath of unhealthy 
stimulation or exhilaration. 

The crux, then, of dietetic righteous- 
ness, or, Fletcherism, is habituating the 


fletcherism: what it is 

body to practise that Eternal Vigilance, 
which is 


It should be much easier to instal 
a habit of carefulness than it is to per- 
mit habits of carelessness. It is pos- 
sible so to sensitize the muscles which 
control swallowing that they will refuse 
to act and will cause choking if an at- 
tempt to swallow prematurely is made. 
Systematic attention to this detail of 
care for a week will secure it as a per- 
manent habit without need of any fur- 
ther attention to it. 

The statement that it is easier to do 
the right thing than it is to do the 
wrong thing: and that it is easier to 
fix firmly good habits than it is to ac- 
quire bad habits, will probably be ques- 
tioned or disputed by many; but prac- 
tice of the principles which underlie 
Fletcherism will cure such pessimism 
relative to the attitude of Mother Na- 


ture towards her most perfect product 
in general, Man. 

Man is given more liberty and more 
license than any other natural expres- 
sion and, with the endowment which we 
call "intelligence," he is raised to a 
position of partnership in assisting nat- 
ural evolution and progress. 

From inklings of experience it is 
reasonably inferred that Man is more 
susceptible to evolutionary influence 
than any of the animal kind; that he 
can ever progressively train himself to- 
wards higher and higher superman- 
hood ; that he is able to perform marvels 
in taming and training other animals 
and in perfecting plant life to prodi- 
gious proportions. He is even "gifted" 
to the extent of overcoming, harness- 
ing, and using at will the "forces of Na- 
ture," and dispelling the mysteries. 
He can only do this, however^ by co- 
operating with Nature in the most in- 
telligent and faithful manner. 

To ascertain Nature's requirements 


fletcherism: what it is 

of preferences it is necessary to begin 
with the first essentials of care, the nu- 
trition of the body and the management 
of the mind. These basic essentials are 
the first concern of Fletcherism and 
really the crux of the Scientific Manage- 
ment of the Highest Efficiency. 

One of the most important discov- 
eries in the development of Fletcherism 
is the fact that 


The usefulness of this discovery rests 
in the knowledge that it is possible to 
make the muscles connected with nutri- 
tion commit to memory the sequences 
of procedure in the processes of nutri- 
tion which accomplish the most profita- 
ble results, and then pass on to other 
details of responsibility care-free and 
thought-free, fully confident that every- 
thing will go on as Nature would have 
it go. 

Without beginning this discipline of 
the muscular equipment at the right 



point and in the right manner, no soHd 
structure of Efficiency-Building can be 
secured. Any amount of indigestion, 
or unnecessary strain put upon metab- 
olism, interferes with the smooth work- 
ing of the organism in the same way 
that an infinitesimal weight put at the 
tip end of the long arm of a lever mul- 
tiplies the burden of resistance at the 
short end many, many fold. 

Therefore, the Crux of Fletcherism 
is found in first training the muscular 
and mental apparatus to proceed with 
thorough deliberation relative to every 
thing taken into the body; for from this 
intake, and especially from the manner 
of the handling of this material along 
the line of the alimentary canal, come 
efficiency or inefficiency. 

It is first necessary to know what you 
want the muscles to habituate them- 
selves to doing in connection with nutri- 
tion. They must learn to know what 
constitutes a true appetite, in contradis- 
tinction to indefiniteness of want or de- 


fletcherism: what it is 

sire. The muscles will soon learn to 
know that real hunger (body need) is 
not expressed by any uncomfortable 
feelings below the guillotine line. Only 
in the head, where the senses are all 
bunched together for the most impor- 
tant team-work, is honest hunger sensed. 
We may rightly add to the list of the 
senses. Appetite, and trust it with con- 
fidence to tell us what the body can use 
to advantage of the foods available at 
the time. That the foods are appetiz- 
ing is the only recommendation neces- 
sary to a set of muscles trained to treat 
them as Nature requires when they en- 
ter the laboratory of the mouth. 

Connected with the training of the 
mouth-muscle outfit, there is the one 
standing order. Challenge everything 
applying for entrance, whether by spe- 
cial invitation or in the way of surprise, 
by testing it for taste-acceptability at 
the tip of the tongue. Then keep on 
tasting and testing, with reverential ap- 
preciation of the gustatory delight there 



is in it, in the full knowledge that both 
digestion and assimilation, which are 
the prime necessities of. nutrition, are 
healthfully stimulated by accentuated 

It is not necessary to dwell intensively 
on sensual enjoyment of the material 
being automatically handled by the 
methodical muscles. The pleasant sense 
sensations surrounding taste may serve 
as an accompaniment to agreeable con- 
versation, to the delight of beauty in any' 
form, to flowers, to music, to graceful 
and vivacious femininity, or to any sort 
of charm, with added strength given to 
the effect on wholesome nutrition. 

So much for the usefulness of the 
mouth-muscles, including that most 
wonderful of muscles, the tongue, in as- 
sisting in the healthful stimulation of 
nutrition. Their most important office 
is to stand guard against the contin- 
gencies that are liable to happen which 
are prejudicial to digestion. If there is 
worry in the atmosphere: "Don't let 

fletcherism: what it is 

anything into the mouth on pain of 
court-martial and suffering!'' Those 
are the "orders of the day'' for the sen- 
tinel muscles of the mouth, serving at 
the outer entrance of the alimentary 

In the category of "worry" are in- 
cluded anger, argument, blues, or any 
other of the depressant passions, and no 
food or drink, other than water, should 
be admitted to the canal while any form 
of depressants are being suffered. 

We must agree in the first place that 
it can do no harm to wait for a clearance 
of the mental atmosphere. Real hun- 
ger is not a painful craving for some- 
thing or anything, but is a most accom- 
modating waiter for final collection of 
all the taste dividends there are due in 
a big lump sum to compensate for not 
getting them by instalments. Conse- 
quently, if the mental atmospheric con- 
ditions are not favourable to the best 
nutrition, the best way to clear them is 
to wait. Nothing is so forceful in mak- 



ing one modify or forget passing clouds 
of pain or disappointment as growing 
healthy Hunger. 

The mouth-muscles soon learn to 
know this beautiful provision of Mother 
Nature, whereby deferred collections 
by appetite are paid with compound in- 
terest sometimes sure, if by the wait- 
ing process the mental atmosphere is 
cleared of the elements of digestive 
lightning and thunder. 

How delightful it is to be assured 
that the best way to secure the best nu- 
trition is the easiest way and that it can 
be quickly installed as a habit, so that 
attention to the mechanics of the care is 
not necessary, leaving the whole battery 
of appreciation to employ itself with the 
gustatory festival. 




The Danger of Excess of Protein — The Use of Meat 
and Uric Acid — To Sum Up — Profitable Economy 

In the warfare against the ''Demons 
of Dietetic Disturbances'' most of the 
volunteer recruits go into the camp of 
the MeakrSy that is, they become vege- 
tarians, gwa.y^-vegetarians, or partial 
vegetarians, and array themselves 
against human carnivorous habits and 
practices. They are comparatively few 
in numbers, but make up in enthusiasm 
what they lack in numerical strength. 
Some of them base their objection to 
meat-eating on physiological grounds, 
others on sentimental susceptibility, and 
yet others are influenced by reasons of 

With world-wide and centuries-old 
evidence before me in forming an opin- 


ion, I say without hesitation that the 
weight of argument is in favour of a 
meatless diet most, if not all, of the time, 
and that all who subsist on the first-hand 
fruits of the soil and do not resort to 
cannibalism, except in cases of emer- 
gency, are on the safer side. 


To mention the greatest danger from 
using meat for nutrition first, we find it 
almost impossible to eat most meats 
without taking into the organism more 
protein (nitrogen) than is required for 
repair of the broken-down tissues; and 
we now know that any excess of protein 
or nitrogen imposed upon the body is 
not good for it. Large excess is posi- 
tively deadly in its final effects, and 
many, if not all of the so-called uric- 
acid troubles or diseases are traced to 
such abuse. 

Not only are the kidneys worn out 
long before their time, but high blood- 
pressure is one of the baleful results 

fletcherism: what it is 

that lead to untimely demise. To be 
sure, persons are reported to have lived 
to near or quite an hundred years of age 
as habitual meattvs, but their occupa- 
tions or activities have been favourable 
to burning up the dregs of metabolism, 
and the belief is reasonable that if they 
had not been thus self-abusing during 
the first century of their life they might 
have gone quite a piece into the second 
century with their matured experience, 
example, and wisdom, serving the world 
to good advantage. 


That meat is an emergency expedient 
in the natural nutrition of man is pretty 
certain. Strictly speaking, we are all 
of us subsisting on meat all of the time, 
but it is only one degree removed from 
the vegetable kingdom, when we ingest 
only the first fruits of the soil, as vege- 
tarians do, and make meat of it within 
us. The vegetable nutriment is trans- 



formed into our own flesh and blood in 
the form of fat chiefly, and then is used 
to furnish whatever heat and repair ma- 
terial we happen to need. When sec- 
ond-hand, already dead and decompos- 
ing meat is eaten and thus used for life- 
giving purposes, it is really not only 
second-hand supply but third-hand ma- 
terial. For instance, we may subsist 
exclusively on vegetable or farinaceous 
material and get our repair or fuel sup- 
ply from such sources only. The result 
IS, in part, the forming of the walls of 
our own stomach. These walls are 
meat. Should we turn into cannibals, 
devouring each other as the Pacific (?) 
Islanders used to treat missionaries and 
enemies, the stomach walls become tripe 
and are easily digestible. While they 
were live walls, holding in place glands 
secreting powerful gastric juice, they 
resisted the digestive aggression of their 
own juice, but the moment they were 
separated from their own living com- 


fletcherism: what it is 

bination, quite similar gastric juice di- 
gested them as quickly as it does the 
white meat of a pet chicken. It is 
physiologically possible to cut out a part 
or the whole of our own stomach, and 
then devour and digest it as tripe in the 
small intestines. 

Hence it is that we are all meaters, 
perforce, but not all of us are third- 
degree-removed cannibals. What we 
call "pure vegetarians" are only second- 
hand meattrs, 

I am indebted to the distinguished 
champion tennis-player, diet-reformer, 
and restaurator Eustace Miles, for the 
name "Meaters" to designate those who 
eat meat; and I have coined the term 
"Mealers" to stand for those who take 
only first-hand earth-fruit products for 
their nutrition, disregarding the fact 
that all are mealers who take meals of 
victuals. To offset this addition to the 
vocabulary, it would do no harm to drop 
off the use of "Meals" and "Victuals," 


leaving ''Mear' to mean only one thing; 
viz., ground cereals or vegetables.* 

One of the details of carefulness in 
Fletcherism is expressed in the state- 
ment that we should not /proscribe as 
food anything that Nature permits to be 
utilized as food; but the same careful- 
ness prescribes that we do not prescrihQ 
it as food for everybody all of the time. 
Everything in its proper time and place 
IS one of the common-sense rules of the 

Captain Amundsen and his comrades, 
as I have already observed, were quite 

* It is not outside the province of Fletcherism to 
Fletcherize our vocabulary and make it as single- 
meaning as possible in the interest of simplicity. The 
term " Fletcherize" is already commonly used to 
suggest analysis and digestion of crude raw material 
other than food, and has come into use in literary 
circles with especial usefulness. Young reporters on 
newspapers are often told by editors to take their 
"copj" in hand and "Fletcherize" it before handing 
it in for printing. Even such a judicial person as 
Mayor Gaynor, of New York, had recourse recently 
to such advice relative to evidence, but he called 
it by a name of his own not yet in common use. 


fletcherism: what it is 

justified in devouring their faithful and 
friendly sledge dogs when necessary to 
preserve their own lives. I have the 
acquaintance of a collie dog whom I love 
devotedly; and I say "whom" appropri- 
ately because he is as intelligent as I am, 
and far more consistent in his habits of 
orderliness and naturalness. He is a 
real gentleman at all times and as good 
a Fletcherite when the food substance 
and occasion demand as I am. He has 
learned to eat and enjoy apples and no 
one could give more careful mouth- 
treatment to some sorts of food than 
Bruce. I am sure that he would want 
me to eat him if I needed him to pre- 
serve my life, just as unselfishly as the 
Japanese soldiers, and more recently the 
Balkanese soldiers, gave their lives for 
their causes. Whether I would eat him 
or not I cannot say, and I do not know 
if he would have similar consideration 
or otherwise for me. 

I merely use this illustration as an 
aside in consideration of the question of 


flesh eating on emergency or sentimen- 
tal grounds. Nature permits Bruce 
and me to eat each other, and if we man- 
aged it skilfully we could attack each 
other's extremities at the same time, as 
long as we did not encroach on our vital 
machinery, and really eat each other up, 
as young lovers would like to do. 

Thus much for sentiment. We are 
subsisting on ourselves all of the time; 
we can nourish ourselves at the expense 
of each other if we will. 

We can eat human flesh as nourish- 
ingly as we can a Spring chicken, and 
if we do not know what we are eating, 
Nature will say us never ''No,'' but there 
are other considerations more practical 
for every-day consideration. These 
are : physiological and economic expedi- 


In the thorough investigation that Dr. 
Hindhede, of Copenhagen, has con- 
ducted for the past few years, and in 


fletcherism: what it is 

which I have assisted, I have followed 
the quest with eagerness because of the 
thoroughness of it. It has been proven 
that very little protein or nitrogen is 
needed for the human body even under 
strain of hardest physical or mental ac- 
tivity. On the other hand, it has been 
found that any appreciable excess of 
protein or nitrogen results in both uric 
acid secretion and increased blood-pres- 
sure, meaning, in all probability, finally 
fatal strain on the organism. It has 
also been demonstrated that it is almost 
impossible to take the leaner meats 
without getting more protein or nitro- 
gen than the body needs. 

It is quite easy to get excessive pro- 
tein and nitrogen from vegetable, far- 
inaceous, and hen-fruit material, and 
cheeses are richer than anything in these 
"strong" food ingredients; but these 
are not such subtle foolers of the appe- 
tite as meats done up in spicy gravies 
and accompanied by appetising fats. 

I purposely avoid giving any figures 


relative to the food values under men- 
tion because the first rule of Fletcher- 
ism in connection with the selection and 
intake of food is to leave that entirely 
to appetite, working intelligently and 
normally in relation to the food that is 
available at the moment. 

To my thinking, the most important 
consideration is economy,, not alone o£ 
the money cost of food, but economy 
of energy-consumption within the body. 
There may be times when economy of 
money-cost means much to persons 
struggling to lay aside an independent 
competency for the purchase of leisure 
in old age, or for insurance against be- 
coming a burden upon others ; and this 
is sure to happen to all who are not 
cursed by the handicap of money in- 
heritance. But it is the internal econ- 
omy of the body that counts for most 
in estimating values. There is no 
doubt but what flesh food is a stimu- 
lant of the same or similar character of 
alcohol. Both of these subtle agents of 


fletcherism: what it is 

intemperance invite the starting and ac- 
cumulation of vicious cycles or circles 
(swirls) of over-stimulation that have 
one bad effect, at least, on the comfort 
and efficiency of the muscular tissues. 
They facilitate fatigue and "that tired 
feeling," and also may result in con- 
tingent "soreness" of muscle after un- 
usual exercise. 

Faithful Fletcherizing has resulted 
in regulating these matters in a way 
that is nothing less than marvellous un- 
til the reasons are revealed. 

Not only does observance of the habit 
and practice which Mr. Rockefeller has 
condensed into thirty-three words, in- 
cluding several repetitions for empha- 
sis, result in settling the questions of 
appropriateness, economy, emergencies, 
and comfort in general between the 
Meaters and the Mealers; between the 
mixed Meaters and Mealevs; and be- 
tween the Physiology and Psychology 
of normality; and which Mr. Rockefel- 
ler calls "Fletcherizing," but a whole lot 


of beneficent cycles or circles (rhythms) 
of profitable felicities are set in motion. 


The Mealers have the advantage of 
the argument in that they are always 
on the safer side of prudence, and there 
is no real deprivation involved in the 

At the present moment I am, person- 
ally, still in the experimental field as 
regards everything that Nature permits 
as food or drink. There is one point 
that vegetarianism has not satisfactorily 
answered as yet. The great majority 
of conscientious vegetarians have not 
the pink complexion that is usually reck- 
oned as a sign of beauty or robustness, 
but I have known one, Frederick Mad- 
sen (Madsen the Faithful), an assistant 
of Dr. Hindhede in Copenhagen, to sub- 
sist on potatoes and butter, or marga- 
rine, alone, for three hundred days con- 
secutively, stopping only because the 
potatoes to be had in the market were 


fletcherism: what it is 

not as good as desired, and he lost none 
of his pinky-pinkness of complexion of 
the richest Scandinavian brilliancy. I 
have done the same for four months 
with similar results of retention of pink- 
ness of complexion. Another question 
is: Does pinkness indicate health? It 
is not the necessity of health among 
Latins and bronzed Orientals, but it un- 
derlies the bronze exterior in even 
African Negroes, if they are healthy. 
Sallow is the reverse of healthy in pro- 
portion to the sallowness, as a usual 

Just here is where the efficacy of care- 
ful eating, which has been formulated 
as Fletcherism, comes into service most 
agreeably to make life really worth liv- 
ing and actually one continuous festival 
of usefulness and pleasure. It is only 
once formed into a habit and set to work- 
ing automatically under the direction of 
Appetite, Taste, Feeling, Instinct, and 
the other attributes of sub-conscious In- 



It will be noted that Mr. Rockefeller, 
in his recent pithy, gisty utterance rela- 
tive to the merits of Fletcherizing, 
makes no mention of the kind of food 
to be recommended. Happily, as far 
as I know, he is not in the food business, 
has no connection with any special food 
supply, and cannot recommend any of 
the products of petroleum as food or 
drink. He should be absolutely un- 
prejudiced in his judgment, and seven 
or eight years of recuperative experi- 
ence, similar to mine of a longer period, 
is material for judgment and recommen- 

Some years ago there was born in me 
the ambition to formulate the rules of 
economic procedure in securing optimum 
nutrition in a space of not more than 
ten pages of coarse print that mothers, 
teachers, and children of primary school 
age could understand as easy as the 
noses on their faces. Mr. Rockefeller 
has "beat me out'' in brevity by several 
lengths. He has made the revelation 

fletcherism: what it is 

with the lucky number of thirty-three 
words, and left room for a final remark 
full of scriptural tone, as is his wont. 


There is one argument in favour of a 
meatless diet that appeals to everybody, 
and that is the economy and cleanliness 
of it In Professor Irving Fisher's 
classic investigation to test the merits 
of Fletcherism it was proven that care- 
ful attention to the mastication, insaliva- 
tion, and enjoyment of food while in the 
mouth, and swallowing only in response 
to a strong invitation to swallow, and 
removing from the mouth whatever re- 
mainder that did not practically swallow 
itself, a net gain of approximately 40 
per cent, was achieved without any at- 
tempt at economy. The saving was in 
the money cost alone, and it came from 
more and more inclination towards far- 
inaceous and vegetable foods and away 
from more expensive meat. 

This form of saving is very telling. 



Dr. Francis E. Clark, founder and 
permanent president of the great Inter- 
national Christian Endeavour organiza- 
tion, noticed a reduction of one-third in 
the food expenses of his family. The 
health officer of a suburb of Hamburg 
accomplished a saving of two thousand 
marks a year in his family of three with- 
out other assistance than careful eating 
and an inclination towards non-flesh 
food material. The *Toor White 
Trash" community in America, before 
mentioned, saved an average of three 
dollars a month each, three thousand 
dollars a month among a thousand mem- 
bers of the community, and the mission- 
ary workers who taught them to Fletch- 
erize save half of the cost of their sus- 
tenance. Accompanying all of this 
wonderful economy was an immunity 
from the ordinary illnesses that was 
worth more than the money saving. 

In the Rockefeller family any decrease 
in the cost of food is a negligible quan- 
tity in comparison with the total ex- 


fletcherism: what it is 

penses, but seven years of immunity 
from indigestion and replacing the 
demon with good golf-health form have 
been worth more than millions of money. 








Mr. President and Gentlemen: 

Being a general practitioner, it is with 
some trepidation and an apology that I pre- 
sent myself before this section. The rea- 
sons for my doing so are: First, that I 
believe that a hitherto unsuspected reflex 
in deglutition has come to light which has 
an important bearing on health, the preven- 
tion of disease and on metabolism. Second, 
that any theory whatever, based on a possi- 
ble physiological function, claiming to dimin- 
ish, as this does, the amount of sickness 
and suffering now existent, should have seri- 
ous investigation. Third, that I desire to 
enlist your skilled help in the consideration 


fletcherism: what it is 

of the theories I have doubtless crudely 
erected on my premise. 

According to the "Encyclopaedia Britan- 
nica," "Luigi Cornaro (1467-1566) was a 
Venetian nobleman, famous for his treatises 
on a temperate life. From some dishonesty 
on the part of his relatives, he was deprived 
of his rank and induced to retire to Padua, 
where he acquired the experience in regard 
to food and regimen which he has detailed 
in his work. In his youth he lived freely, 
but after a severe illness at the age of forty, 
he began under medical advice gradually to 
reduce his diet. For some time he restricted 
himself to a daily allowance of 12 ozs. of 
solid food and 14 ozs. of wine. Later in 
life he still farther reduced his bill of fare, 
and he found that he could support his life 
and strength with no more solid meat than 
an egg a day. So much habituated did he 
become to this simple diet that when he was 
about seventy years of age the addition, by 
way of experiment, of 2 ozs. a day had 
nearly proved fatal. At the age of eighty- 
three he wrote his treatise on the *Sure and 
Certain Method of Attaining a Long and 
Healthful Life.' And this work was fol- 



lowed by three others on the same subject, 
composed at the ages of eighty-six, ninety- 
one, and ninety-five, respectively. They 
are written,' says Addison (* Spectator,' 
No. 195), *with such a spirit of cheerful- 
ness, religion, and good sense, as are the 
natural concomitants of temperance, and 
sobriety.' He died at the age of ninety- 
eight." Some say of 103 ! 

Now, was Luigi Cornaro right? Did he 
make use of a physiological process un- 
known to us of the value of which he was 
not cognisant ? To live to an advanced age, 
must we be as temperate as he, reducing the 
quantity of our food to a minimum required 
by Nature? 

That we all eat more than we can assimi- 
late is unquestionable. How can we deter- 
mine the right quantity? Instinct should 
guide us, but an abnormal appetite often 
leads us astray. Nature's plans are perfect 
if her laws are obeyed. Disease follows 
disobedience. Wherein do we disobey? 

We live not upon what we eat, but upon 
what we digest ; then why should undigested 
food, recognisable as such, be deemed a nor- 
mal constituent of our solid egesta? 


fletcherism: what it is 

Something like the following must be a 
common experience to general practitioners, 
especially to those practising on the Conti- 
nent. The patient comes to see us and vol- 
unteers the information that he or she has 
the "gout," "rheumatic gout,'* or "dys- 
pepsia." Symptoms are asked for. The 
case is gone into carefully for causation. 
An appropriate diet and an appropriate 
bottle of medicine prescribed. As the 
patient leaves the room, we may, or may 
not, call attention to the fact that 
both teeth and saliva are meant to be 
used. The patient returns, better, in statu 
quo, or worse. If better, he remains so 
while under treatment, and relapses 
when he returns to ordinary habits. If 
unaffected, or worse, we try again and 
again, until we despair, then take or send 
him to a consultant. Temporary benefit, 
possibly owing to renewed hope, results ; but 
finally the unfortunate gets used to his suf- 
ferings, and, if he can afford it, is sent to 
join the innumerable hosts that wander from 
one Bad to another, all Europe over, trying, 
praising, and damning each in turn. Their 
manner of living is, of course, at fault. 



Nature never intended that man should be 
perpetually on a special diet and hugging a 
bottle of medicine, nor did she ordain that 
he should go wandering over the map of 
Europe drinking purgative and other waters. 

Though early yet to speak with certain 
voice, it would seem that we are provided 
with a Guard, reliance on which protects 
us from the results of mal-nutrition. There 
seems to be placed in the fauces and the 
back of the mouth a Monitor to warn us 
what we ought to swallow and when we 
ought to swallow it. The good offices of 
this Monitor we have suppressed by habits 
of too rapid eating, acquired in infancy or 

Last November my attention was called 
by Mr. Horace Fletcher, an American author 
living in Venice, to the discovery in himself 
of a curious inability to swallow, and a clos- 
ing of the throat against food, unless it had 
been completely masticated. My informant 
stated that he noticed this peculiarity after 
he had begun to excessively insalivate his 
food, both liquid and solid, until all its 
original taste had been removed from it. 
Any tasteless residue in the mouth, being 

fletcherism: what it is 

refused by the fauces, required a forced 
muscular effort to swallow. He further 
told me that since adopting this method of 
eating he had been cured of two maladies, 
adjudged chronic, the suffering from which 
rendered him ineligible for Life Insurance. 
His weight now became reduced from 205 
lbs. to 165 lbs. He had practised no ab- 
stemiousness, had indulged his appetite, both 
as to selection and to quantity, without re- 
straint, and for the last three years had en- 
joyed perfect health. 

After his cure, he was accepted without 
difficulty for insurance, the last examina- 
tion finding him an unusually healthy sub- 
ject for his age. Having leisure, he had 
spent three years in investigating the cause 
of his cure, had pursued experiments upon 
others, and had extended his inquiries, both 
in America and Europe, until our meeting 
in Venice. He had also published a state- 
ment and inquiry in book form, entitled 
"Glutton or Epicure," which had been re- 
viewed by the "Lancet." 

For nearly a year I also had been experi- 
menting on myself and others with various 
diets, and was ready to believe that in the 


manner of taking food and not altogether 
in its varying matter lay perhaps its pro- 
tean effects on our system. I at once 
adopted the same method of eating. At the 
end of six weeks, I noticed that not only 
did the fauces refuse to allow of the passage 
of imperfectly prepared food, but that such 
food was returned from the back to the 
front of the mouth by an involuntary, 
though eventually controllable, muscular ef- 
fort taking place in the reverse direction to 
that occurring at the inception of degluti- 

What actually happens is this : Food, as 
it is masticated, slowly passes to the back of 
the mouth, and collects in the glosso-epi- 
glottidean folds, where it remains in contact 
with the mucous membrane containing the 
sensory end-organs of taste. If it be prop- 
erly reduced by the saliva it is allowed to 
pass the fauces, — a truly involuntary act 
of deglutition occurring. Let the food, 
however, be too rapidly passed back to these 
folds, i. e,, before complete reduction takes 
place, and the reflex muscular movement 
above referred to occurs. The process of this 
reflex is as follows : The tip of the tongue 

fletcherism: what it is 

is involuntarily fixed at the backs and bases 
of the lower central incisor teeth by the an- 
terior fibres of the geniohyoglossi muscles. 
With this fixed point as fulcrum, the lower 
and middle fibres of these muscles, aided by 
those of the stylohyoid and styloglossi mus- 
cles raise the hyoid bone, straighten out the 
glosso-epiglottidean folds, passing their con- 
tents forward, by the fauces, the opening 
of which is closed by approximation of its 
pillars and contraction of the superior con- 
strictor. The tongue, arched postero-an- 
teriorly by the geniohyoglossi, palato, and 
styloglossi muscles, laterally, by its own in- 
trinsic muscles, is approximated to the 
fauces, soft and hard palates in turn, and 
thus, the late contents of the glosso-epiglot- 
tidean folds are returned to the front of 
the mouth for further reduction by the 
saliva preparatory to deglutition. 

The word reduction is used for the reason 
that all foods tested, without exception, give 
an acid reaction to litmus, when served at 
table. The reflex muscular movement oc- 
curs in the writer's case from five to ten 
times during the mastication of each mouth- 
ful of food, according to its quantity and 


its degree of sapidity. As often as it recurs, 
the returned food continues to give an acid 
reaction, while food allowed to pass the 
fauces is alkaline. 

Saliva, flowing in response to the stimu- 
lation of taste, seems more alkaline than 
that secreted in answer to mechanical taste- 
less stimulation. It is found that the re- 
moval of original taste from any given bolus 
of food coincides with cessation of salivary 
flow and complete alkaline reduction. The 
fibre of meat, gristle, connective tissue, the 
husk of coarse bread and cellulose of vege- 
tables are carefully separated by the tongue 
and buccal muscles and rejected by the 
fauces. To swallow any of these necessi- 
tates a forced muscular effort, which is ab- 

Adult man was not originally intended to 
take his nourishment in a liquid form, con- 
sequently all liquids having taste, such as 
soup, milk, tea, coffee, cocoa, and the vari- 
ous forms of alcohol, must be treated as 
sapid solids and insalivated by holding them 
in the mouth, moving the tongue gently, with 
straight up and down masticatory move- 
ments, until their taste be removed. Water, 


fletcherism: what it is 

not having taste, needs no insalivation and 
is readily accepted by the fauces. 

In explanation of the phenomenon de- 
scribed, the following theory is advanced: 
The fauces back of the tongue, epiglottis, in 
short, those mucous surfaces in which are 
placed the sensory end-organs of taste and 
"taste buds" (the distribution of which, by 
the way, has yet to be explained), that these 
surfaces, readily becoming accustomed to 
an alkaline contact by excessive insalivation 
and consequent complete alkaline reduction 
of the food, afterwards resent an acid con- 
tact and express their resentment by throw- 
ing off the cause of offence by the muscles 
underlying them. 

This phenomenon must not be confused 
with the cases of rumination and regurgita- 
tion, which from time to time are recorded. 
The food in this case is not swallowed, nor 
does it pass any point from which it can be 
regurgitated. Eighty-one individuals of 
different nationalities and from several 
classes of society whom we have studied are 
now in conscious possession of their reflexes. 
These seem readily educated back to nor- 


mal functions by all who seriously and 
patiently adopt the habit of what seems only 
at first to be excessive insalivation. 

The dictum "bite your food well" that 
we so often use, has no meaning to those 
suffering from the results of mal-assimila- 
tion and mal-nutrition, especially should 
they have few or no teeth of their own. I 
make so bold as to state that dyspepsia et 
morbi hujus generis omnis will cease to 
exist if patients be persuaded to bite their 
food until its original taste disappears, and 
it is carried away by involuntary degluti- 

The important point of the whole ques- 
tion seems to be this alkaline reduction of 
of acid food before it passes on to meet 
subsequent digestive processes elsewhere, 
which then become alternately acid and al- 

In the first few months of infant life, 
when saliva is not secreted, Nature ordains 
that mammary secretion be alkaline. With 
the eruption of teeth come an abundant flow 
of saliva and a synchronous infantile capac- 
ity for managing other foods. This flow of 

fletcherism: what it is 

saliva depends on a thorough demand and 
use to maintain its generous supply. It is 
just at this time that children learn to bolt 
their food, — the demand fails, with a con- 
sequent detriment to the salivary glands, 
digestive processes, and the system gener- 

A, B, C, and D v^ere placed on an abso- 
lute milk diet. A drank his milk in the 
ordinary v^ay, and at the end of three days 
begged to discontinue the experiment owing 
to disgust at the monotony of the diet. B, 
C, and D continued the experiment for sev- 
enteen days, insalivating the milk, but to a 
varying extent, B the least and D the most. 
Though D took most milk, he excreted least 
solid egesta, C excreting less than B. Can 
one infer that increased insalivation of a 
non-starchy food insured its better digestion 
and assimilation? Each subject took as 
much milk only as his appetite demanded, 
D taking the most, which never exceeded 
two litres daily. The weights of the sub- 
jects after the usual sudden drop of the first 
three days remained remarkably even until 
the end of the experiment. B, C, and D 
all relished the diet, and it satisfied the re- 


quirements of their appetites, but they ex- 
perienced an increasing monotony. 

As long ago as the seventeenth century, 
before the transformation of matter into 
energy by the animal organism, known as 
Metabolism, was understood, the fact was 
recognised that by the lungs, kidneys, skin, 
and intestines, substances no longer useful 
to the organism were eliminated, the reten- 
tion of which proved harmful. The nature 
of these substances was unknown, but it 
was noted that however much the food was 
increased the weight of the body remained 
the same. In other words, a state of com- 
plete nutritive equilibrium was maintained. 

The following table contains the resume 
of two experiments in which a state of com- 
plete nutritive equilibrium was maintained 
by individuals of about the same weight, on 
widely different quantities of food similar 
in quality. The subjects of the experiments 
were a laboratory assistant of Dr. Snyder, 
of the U. S. Department of Agriculture, and 
the writer. The experiment of the former 
was made primarily to show the relative 
digestibility of the several articles of diet, 
potatoes, eggs, milk, and cream : 

fletcherism: what it is 

Dr. Snyder's 

Published in 

Writer's Experiment- 

Bulletin 4} 

Age of subject . . 

22 years 

30 years 

Duration of experiment 

4 1-3 days 

5 days 

Number of meals . 



Weight at beginning . 
Weight at end . . . 

62.5 kilos 

57.3 kilos 

62.6 kilos 

57.5 kilos 

Potatoes (daily average) 

1587.6 grammes 

159.4 grammes 

Eggs (daily average) . 

411.08 grammes 

124.7 grammes 

Milk (daily average) . 

710 c.c. 

710 c.c. 

Cream (daily average) 

2Z7 C.C. 

237 c.c. 

Daily urine .... 

1 1 08 grammes 

1098 grammes 

Daily faeces .... 

204 grammes 

18.9 grammes 

The daily diet of Dr. Snyder's subject 
consisted of three and one-half pounds of 
potatoes, eight eggs, a pint and a half of 
milk, and half a pint of cream. The writ- 
er's diet of twelve ounces of solid food (like 
Luigi Cornaro) consisted of three eggs, the 
remainder of the twelve ounces in potatoes, 
and an equal quantity of similar liquid food 
to that taken by Dr. Snyder's subject. The 
exercise of the laboratory assistant com- 
prised his daily routine of laboratory work, 
while that of the writer consisted of six 
sets of tennis, or an hour and a half on 
horseback, with an hour to an hour and a 
half's walk or climb daily, in addition to 
much reading and writing. 

In each case complete nutritive equilib- 


rium was maintained, although the author 
subsisted on three-seventeenths of the solid 
food taken by the other subject. 

Again, cannot one infer that better assimi- 
lation and less waste resulted from the better 
preparation of the smaller quantity of food 
by insalivation ? Surely, too, there must be 
less daily strain on the intestinal canal, and 
body generally, in getting rid of 18.9 
grammes of inoffensive dry waste, than in 
getting rid of 204 grammes of humid, de- 
composing, and offensive matter. 

"Considerable importance has been at- 
tached to the normal action of the bacteria 
in the intestines; and it has even been sup- 
posed that the presence of bacteria is essen- 
tial to life. Such a view has recently been 
shown to be erroneous by an elaborate and 
painstaking research carried out by Nuttall 
and Thierfelder, who obtained ripe foetal 
guinea-pigs by means of Csesarean section 
carried out under strict antiseptic precau- 
tions. They introduced the animals imme- 
diately into an asceptic chamber through 
which a current of filtered air was aspirated, 
and fed them hourly on sterilised milk day 
and night for over eight days. 


fletcherism: what it is 

"The animals lived, and throve, and in- 
creased as much in weight as healthy normal 
animals subjected to a similar diet for the 
purpose of controlling the results. Micro- 
scopic examination at the end of the experi- 
ment showed that the alimentary canal con- 
tained no bacteria of any kind, nor could 
cultures of any kind be obtained from it. 

"The same authors, in a subsequent pa- 
per, described the extension of their research 
to vegetable food. This was also digested 
in the absence of bacteria. Under such 
conditions cellulose was not attacked. 
Hence they consider that the chief function 
of this material is to give bulk and proper 
consistency to the food so as to suit 
the conditions of herbiverous digestion." 
(Schafer's "Text-Book of Physiology," vol. 
i., p. 465.) 

Now, inasmuch as bacterial digestion has 
no place in the animal economy, surely it 
can only occur at the expense of the organ- 

Can micro-organic action take place in the 
intestines without the production of toxins 
and the consequent absorption of these tox- 
ins into the blood ? 



We know that the metabolism of a cell is 
determined by the general physical environ- 
ment of the whole organism, by supplies of 
oxygen and water, on nervous impulses, 
and, what chiefly concerns this argument, on 
the nature and amount of the pabulum sup- 
plied to it. This pabulum is derived from 
the alimentary canal. 

Are not even those of us who may be 
enjoying seemingly the best of health sup- 
plying to our tissues pabulum containing 
mild toxins, thus causing an increased kata- 
bolic action to occur in each individual cell 
of our bodies? 

Are not the blood elements, floating in a 
plasma containing such toxins, rendered re- 
sistent, weaker, less capable of fulfilling 
their functions as carriers and combatants 
of disease ? 

Are not their and our lives, in conse- 
quence, more painful and shorter than they 
need be ? 

Would not the elimination of these toxins 
render us less liable to disease ? And is not 
their presence an important element in pre- 
disposition to disease? 

When this reflex is restored micro-organ- 


fletcherism: what it is 

isms get no further than the stomach. They 
are destroyed there by the acid gastric juices, 
then only stimulated to their full and normal 
secretion by the presence of a sufficiency of 
alkaline substance. Undigested matter hav- 
ing been eliminated, micro-organisms, still 
existing in the intestines, deprived of their 
means of subsistence, decrease, and, in 
time, may cease to exist. The body no 
longer absorbs the toxins these produced. 
To this fact may be ascribed the increase of 
mental energy, the general physical better- 
ment, the cessation of morbid cravings for 
food and drink and of those of a sexual 
nature, which are noticed and experienced. 

What has just been stated is based not 
entirely on experimental evidence but some- 
what upon inference. The inference seems 
justified because the excreta, more espe- 
cially of the intestines, but also of the kid- 
neys and skin, become almost odourless and 
entirely inoffensive. The solid egesta are 
voided thickly covered with mucus, leaving 
the end of the bowel dry and clean. The 
sense of cleanliness can only then be appre- 
ciated to the full, for it is internal as well 
as external. Flatus is no longer produced. 



The urine is inoffensive and seems to be ma- 
terially changed in quality, as shown by 
chemical analysis. Uric acid, the chlorides, 
and, more markedly, aromatic sulphates are 
reduced in quantity. 

Owing to deliberation in eating, necessi- 
tated by this new habit, satiety occurs on 
the ingestion of considerably less food. By 
carefully studying one's self I believe it 
possible to cultivate an instinct which will 
regulate not only the quantity but the quality 
of food that the body may need, and that in 
the normal health of a full-grown body, no 
more food either in quantity or quality 
should be supplied than suffices to supply 
diurnal waste. Any excess must result in 
pathological processes. 

Although there results enhanced pleasure 
in the taking of all foods, rich and simple, 
and especially in the appreciation of good 
wines, the quantities of these foods and 
beverages that suffice to fully satisfy the 
appetite are much smaller than before, while 
there is a marked preference for the simpler 
kinds of food. The writer now can im- 
agine no more pleasurable meal than one 
consisting of good brown bread, eggs, but- 


fletcherism: what it is 

ter, cheese, and cream. These, with fresh 
vegetables and a very little fruit, form his 
staple diet. This tendency and preference 
for simple foods is the general experience 
among those who have recovered their re- 
flexes of deglutition. 

Following on the ingestion of a lessened 
quantity of food and on its better assimila- 
tion, there is less waste, the egesta are 
voided less frequently, sometimes only once 
in five to eight days. 

The lower bowel is not the reservoir it 
formerly was. So haemorrhoids cease from 
troubling and constipation cannot exist. 
For this same reason the body, at the begin- 
ning of the practice, commences to approxi- 
mate to its normal weight, increasing or 
decreasing as the individual's environment 

A few more words only need be said. It 
has been easy to state the results of experi- 
ments and observations: but the acquiring 
of this new reflex, while pursuing daily oc- 
cupations, is not easy, and needs more than 
a little patience and much serious thought. 
The habits of a lifetime cannot be changed 
in a few days or weeks. The shortest time 



in which the reflex has been re-established 
is four weeks, and this only by avoiding 
conversation at meal-time and concentrating 
the attention on keeping the food in the 
mouth until complete alkaline reduction has 
taken place and sapidity has disappeared. 

In closing I wish to maintain as a fact, 
gentlemen, of the truth of which you will 
only be convinced by actual experience, that 
by the restoration of this reflex and in com- 
plete dependence on its use, there lies true 
health, the establishment of a condition of 
stable nutrition and the possible abrogation 
of two great predisposing factors of disease, 
mal-assimilation and mal-nutrition. Unless 
there be among you, as in the "Cities of 
the Plain," a parlous minority who possess 
this reflex and take your food as you ought, 
none of you are in the enjoyment of such 
health as you might have. A like punish- 
ment will be meted out to you as was visited 
on those cities, for you will all be consumed 
long before your day by the unnecessary 
combustion in your bodies caused by the 
circulation in them of toxins, the product of 
undigested and decomposing food. 

The writer, bearing in mind the warning 

fletcherism: what it is 

suggested by the Frenchman whose donkey 
died as soon as he had reduced his food to 
a single wisp of straw, finds that he is tak- 
ing less and less food. While his mind 
is open as to his arriving at the final diet 
of Luigi Cornaro, yet it is easily conceiva- 
ble that living a similar life of retirement in 
a placid environment, it would be quite pos- 
sible to do as he did. Hence the title of 
this paper and the queries at the commence- 

The objects in publishing and distributing 
this paper are twofold : to make the subject 
as widely known as possible, and to solicit 
the aid of colleagues in investigating it more 

There is ready at the service of the gen- 
eral practitioner an important and potential 
therapeutic agent in the saliva of his patients 
and in the use ad Unern of their salivary 

Editor^ s notes, (i) Confirmatory evi- 
dence of the correctness of the deductions 
made in this paper has begun to come in 
from many professional sources and notably 
from a famous child specialist who avers 



that children would follow the natural re- 
quirements in eating were it not for arti- 
ficial food, bad example, and bad teaching. 

(2) In a report of a paper read before 
the Societe de Biologie, Paris, France, 
March 15th, 1902, by M. Max Marckwald, 
of Kreuznach, "On Digestion of Milk in 
THE Stomach of Full-grown Dogs," 
the following appears: "Hence these ex- 
periments confirm those of Horace Fletcher 
and Ernest H. Van Someren on the impor- 
tance of prolonged mastication" {transla- 
tion). Referring, as the latter statement 
does, to mastication (insalivation) of liquid, 
it gives an important suggestion relative to 
some probable causes of uncertain or de- 
fective digestion in human nutrition. 



Abstinence, long absti- 
nence from food harm- 
less, 20, 133 

Aggressive hospitality, 

Alcohol, the abuse of, 
135, 140 

Alcoholic stimulant, 145 

Amundsen, Captain, 185 

Anderson, Doctor W. G., 
18; begins Fletcheriz- 
ing, 23; at Yale test, 
24, et seq., 143 

Appetite, 6; wait for a 
true, 10; selects sim- 
plest foods, 36, 136; is 
true hunger, 52; rest- 
ing the, 56 

Atwater, Piofessor, 12; 
his diet standard, no 


Bacterial Decomposi- 
tion, 58 

Battle Creek Sanatorium, 
experiments on mem- 
bers, 21 

Beer, how to take, 60, 121 

Bowditch, Doctor H. P., 

15, 125 
Bradefagy, 65 
Business men and Fletch- 

erism, 41, 43 


Calorie, the heat unit, 61 

Calorimeter, 61 

Cannon, Doctor, 81, 125 

Carbo-hydrates in human 
diet, 61 

Chanute, 124 

Chewing, and Fletcher- 
ism, 66; Mr. Gladstone 
on, 67 

Chittenden, Professor, 
visited by Mr. Fletch- 
er, 16; volunteers to 
experiment, 18 ; on 
careful chewing, 85 et 
seq.; on head diges- 
tion, 83 

Christian Endeavour So- 
ciety, 44 

Circumvalate papillae, 9 

Cornaro, Luigi, 118 

Decency and Fletcher- 
ism, 126 
Delirium tremens, a cure, 

Diet, prejudice against 

unaccustomed, 94 
Diet standard, the best 

suited to economy and 

efficiency, 60 ; Voit's, 



Dietetic righteousness, 
the Gospel of, 50, 128, 
et seq. 

Digestion-ash, the, 58, 59, 

Dow, Hon. A. G., 49 

Economy of Fletcherism, 

Emerson, 129 

Endurance tests : Irving 
Fisher's, 21 ; Granger's 
and Wagner's, 21-22; 
Mr. Fletcher's at Yale, 
24 et seq. 

Epicure, the true, 47 

Excess of food, difficulty 
of getting rid of, 38; 
ferrnentation of, 47 

Experiments : Someren, 
13 ; Yale University, 
16; Chittenden, 18; U. 
S. Army, 19; Irving 
Fisher's, 98; Seventh- 
Day Adventists, 151 

Fasting, the value of, 

Fat, putting on, 70 ; Doc- 
tor Anderson on, 137 

Fats in human diet, 61 

Fermentation of undi- 
gested food, 47 

Fisher, Professor Irving, 
endurance tests, 21 ; 
his endurance-testing- 
machine, 26 ; experi- 
ments with students, 98 

Fletcher, Horace, refused 
by insurance company 

as poor risk, 2 ; at Gal- 
veston, Texas, 3; dis- 
covery of the mouth 
food-filter, 6; in the 
Philippines, 112; deliv- 
ers address before New 
York Academy of Med- 
icine, 128; at the Buf- 
falo Club, 147 

Fletcherism, its five prin- 
ciples, 10; and house- 
wives, 41 ; economy of, 
43; and long life, 49, 
118; and muscularity, 
III; and companion- 
ship, 123; as first aid, 

Fletchente, the diction- 
ary definition, 116 

Food-filter, our, what it 
is, 6 ; using it properly, 
35, 66 

Foster, Sir Michael, in- 
terested in Fletcherism, 
13; organises tests at 
Cambridge University, 

Fruit, how to eat, 59 

Gladstone, his theory of 
mastication, 4, 67; as 
Fletcherite, 7 

Gluttony and avoirdu- 
pois, 161 

Granger, J. H., 21 

Grape-sugar, 69 


Head digestion, ys ^' ^^Q' 


Higgins, Father, on al 
coholic stimulants, 44 


Hindhede, Doctor, 102, 
187, 191 

Hookins, Professor F. G., 
conducts tests at Cam- 
bridge University, 15 

Hospitality, aggressive, 

Housewives and Fletch- 
erism, 41 

Human diet, the organic 
materials of, 60 

Hunger, what is, 51 

Hunger-habit, 40 

Hutchinson, Doctor, 73 

Intemperance, overcome 
by Fletcherism, 45, 141, 


Intestmal toxication, 42 

Japan, 2, 94 
Java, diet in, 95 


Kellog, Doctor, 45; test 
at Tennessee Institute, 

Konig, Professor, no 

Leonardi, Professor, in 
co-operation with Doc- 
tor Van Someren, 13 

Liquids, Fletcherising, 


Mastication, what hap- 
pens during, 7; Fletch- 
erism not excessive, 64 
Meals, choosing, 32 ; how 
many a day, z7 \ chos- 
en by appetite, 54 
Meat and Uric Acid, 187 
Mendel, Professor, 18 
Milk, as food material, 
32, 102; how to take, 
60, 121 
Mineral waters, 121 
Morbid cravings, 150 
Mouth digestion, 73, 76 
Mouth during mastica- 
tion, 7 
Muscularity and Fletch- 
erism, III 


National Food Reform 
Association, 64 

Nitrogen, 61 

Nutrition, the best safe- 
guard to right, 48 

Optimum economic nu- 
trition, 63, 107 

Organic materials of hu- 
man diet, the, 60 





74, 125 
Peristalsis and fruit, 59 
Potato, the, nutritive 

value of, 103 
Proteids, the, 60 



Protein enthusiast, the, 
io8; the danger of ex- 
cess of, i8i 

Responsibility in nutri- 
tion, our personal, 5, 
80, 96 

Rockefeller, J. D., xi, 
190, 193 et seq. 

Roosevelt, President, 19 

Root, Secretary, 19 

Saliva, chemical trans- 
formatipn of food by, 
8; wait for profuse 
flow, 52, 62; action on 
starch foods, 68 
Scott, Captain, 108 
Seventh-Day Adventists, 

Someren, Doctor Van, 
first experiments with, 

Soup, how to take, 60 
Stagg, Alonzo B., 21 
Starch foods, action of 

saliva, 68 
Stomach, digestive proc- 
esses in, 74 
Swallowing impulse, 9, 

Swallowing sense, 140 

Taste, getting the best 
out of food, 10; the 
test of, 91 ; and liquids, 

Taste-buds, the, 7 

Tea, how to take it, 59 
Temperance and Fletch- 

erism, 138, 149 
Tests. See Experiments 

and Endurance tests. 
Tramps and Fletcherism, 



Uric Acid and Meat, 187 
U. S. Army, instructions 
to, 57 

Vegetarianism and 
Fletcherism, 180 

Voit, Carl, his diet stand- 
ard, 109 


Wagner, Doctor, 22 
Wine, how to take, 60 
Wine-tasters, profession- 
al, 147 
Wood, General, 19 
Wright Brothers, the, 

Yale University, experi- 
ments at, IS 

Y. M. C. A. Training 
School, Springfield, 
test at, 29 

Zuntz, Doctor Profes- 
sor, 78 



3 1378 00581 9274 

Date Due 




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3 U 1980 


li R H £ D 

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22 1390 



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a i 1986 




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QP141 Fletcher, H. 

F62 FLetcherism, wfiat 

it is. 

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